Church aims to fly higher with new wing Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran plans expansion

June 21, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

For years, parishioners of Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pasadena have had to teach Sunday School classes in a kitchen, hold dinners in a sanctuary and convene committee meetings in a nursery.

That could all end this winter when construction crews finish building a new fellowship and education wing behind the church on Fort Smallwood Road.

A new lobby also will be built, and the existing nursery and bathrooms renovated.

The $350,000 project, which began Monday, is expected to be finished in five months, said pastor Robert Stevens.

"We're kind of on the brink," he said. "We're bursting at the seams."

Stevens said the church's most pressing need is classroom space for the children. Space is so congested that one class of high school students must have Bible study in the kitchen. Three other classes share a small, multipurpose room, he said.

Three other classes meet in the nursery, and another in the library. And the adults have Bible study in the sanctuary after services, Stevens said.

The new education wing will give the teachers up to six new rooms to use for classes.

"We're so crowded, and education is a top priority for this congregation," Stevens said, adding that 85 children attend Sunday School every week. "We need the facilities to do that."

The education center also will double as a fellowship hall, he said.

In recent years, church functions overflowed into the sanctuary, he said. "We'd have dinners and events, and we'd end up pulling back the curtain [that separates the multipurpose room from the sanctuary] and spreading to the sanctuary," Stevens said. "This will give us more space to accommodate events."

The new wing also will give the church more room for committee meetings and for events of outside groups. Stevens said 10 church committees and eight outside groups are forced to be flexible in scheduling their meetings because of the lack of room.

He said he also would like to expand the sanctuary from 175 seats to 225. Stevens has had to hold two worship services on Sundays to accommodate the more than 600 members of the church. But that project will have to wait until the church can pay for it, he said.

Stevens said the additions, which have been planned since 1988, are designed to keep pace with a growing membership roll. "I think we're going to grow in the next several years, and we need to look into the future," he said. "We need to anticipate the growth."

Nancy Quasney, who has been a member for more than 10 years, said the completion of the new wing will coincide with the celebration of the church's 50th anniversary this winter.

"We were wondering how we were going to have the party," Quasney said. "We're thrilled to death about it."

Pub Date: 6/21/96

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