A new church for the St. Joseph Catholic Community in Sykesville has received preliminary approval from the Baltimore archdiocese.
The approval came as the pastor, members of the parish Renovation Committee and architects met Thursday with Archbishop William Keeler.
"We had a good, practical question and answer session," said Mike Hussle, chairman of the Renovation Committee. "The bishop gave us his ideas for proper liturgical design and handicap accessibility."
The bishop also gave his approval to preliminary drawings by Kelly, Clayton and Mojzisek Architects. Plans call for an 800-seat church and chapel to be built on grounds adjacent to the 30-year-old church.
"The next step will be schematic drawings, which we hope to take to the bishop in October," Mr. Hussle said.
Those drawings will show floor plans and connections to the existing buildings on the Liberty Road site. Mr. Hussle said he will make the plans available for parishioners to peruse.
Early in 1994, Mr. Hussle hopes to schedule a design development review with the archdiocese. Groundbreaking for the 12,500-square-foot structure could take place next spring.
Before builders start moving any earth, though, the parish must raise half of the $1.5 million estimated cost.
"We are almost there," Mr. Hussle said. "There is $460,000 in our building account and we will be receiving two private donations totaling $265,000."
Pledges to the building campaign are "in excess of $1.1 million," he said.
Building the new church and chapel will complete Phase I of the planned additions to the complex. Phase II calls for a $500,000 conversion of the present 500-seat church into offices, meeting rooms and classrooms when the new building is complete.
St. Joseph parishioners plan a ceremonial groundbreaking Oct. 10, on the church's 125th anniversary.