Fast-growing Manchester church plans to build new sanctuary

October 12, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

A community church needs to grow with the community, say members of a local Presbyterian congregation.

In pursuit of that goal, Kirkridge Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church outside Manchester has begun planning for new sanctuary that would seat at least 250, said Louis Schillinger, chairman of the building committee.

"We've been looking at the expansion in the community," Mr. Schillinger said. The congregation, started 30 years ago by 13 families, also has grown and now includes 130 families, he said.

"We as a congregation want to expand to everyone in the community, all age groups," he said. "Anyone in the community is welcome."

The church, of which the Rev. C. Biddle Foster is pastor, has Sunday services at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. in its 168-seat sanctuary and church school at 9 a.m.

To handle growing attendance, it might add a second Sunday morning service.

"At this point, we don't have enough seats," Mr. Schillinger said. "We're not even into the holiday season yet, and we're full."

The church also has a Wednesday evening prayer service at 7:30 and several ministries, including youth groups for junior and senior high school students, Bible studies, summer camp and pastoral counseling.

But adding another service is only a temporary solution to the problem, Mr. Schillinger said. Church members also want to add on to the church building, which would fulfill a dream that started five years ago, he said.

"We never proceeded because it wasn't the proper time," he said.

Tentative plans call for a new 75-by-45-foot sanctuary that would just about double the church's size, he said.

During the renovation, members also want to add nine new Sunday school classrooms, build a library and study for the pastor, and make the restrooms accessible to the physically disabled, Mr. Schillinger said.

The current sanctuary will be converted into a fellowship hall for the members, he said. Parking has already been increased, Mr. Schillinger said.

"We don't have a firm date for completion," he said. "We're shooting for the end of 1995 or the spring of 1996."

Joanne Moncure, an architect from Baltimore, and Total Construction Services of Ellicott City have given members a preliminary price of $539,000 for the building and renovation project, Mr. Schillinger said.

"The final figure will be based on what the congregation comes up with," he said. "We're going to contact the congregation and get some feedback on what they feel they can give.

"We may then go to bondship, putting the property up and selling off bonds for the project."

Meanwhile, the group is going to continue reaching out to the community, Mr. Schillinger said.

"Our doors are open to anyone in the community," he said. "We're looking to work toward the future.

"This [expansion] is not just for this generation, but the generations coming up behind us."

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