Ground broken for new church building in Bel Air

Expansion is third for Good Shepherd

March 30, 2003|By Jan DeVinney | Jan DeVinney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1515 Emmorton Road in Bel Air, broke ground for a $1.2 million, 13,800-square-foot, two-story education and fellowship building after last week's 11 a.m. service. The building is expected to be completed in late October.

This is the third expansion for Good Shepherd. Since its beginning in 1963, membership at Good Shepherd has increased from 90 to about 1,800.

Led by the Rev. Kenneth H. Homer Jr., the senior pastor, and the Rev. Eric W. Evers, the associate pastor, members of the congregation prayed that the new building will "be a place where [God's] glory dwells and where [God's] way is revealed in Word and Sacrament."

Church Council President Mary Hodgin, Vice President Bob Hood and Bruce Tillman, facility improvement committee chairman, commemorated the event by taking turns digging into the soil with a golden shovel. A potluck luncheon to celebrate the groundbreaking and Good Shepherd's 40th anniversary followed indoors in the Sunday school area.

"This is the day the Lord has made. The people of this congregation should be very proud of the work they have done," Hodgin said. "We have work yet to do. ... This is just the beginning."

"We couldn't ask for a better day. Hopefully, those are the only rocks we will run into," said Hood, referring to the shovel work at the groundbreaking.

F.M. Harvey Construction is the contractor for the project.

The cost of the building and site work will be about $1.2 million. The building will include 12 rooms on the second floor and a fellowship hall twice the size of the old sanctuary on the ground floor.

The building will have an elevator, a large kitchen off the fellowship hall and an area for a stage that can be added later.

A covered walk will lead from the narthex to the building, and there will be an entry from the original sanctuary-fellowship hall.

The plans can be viewed in the narthex.

Optimism for Good Shepherd's future abounded at the groundbreaking, but the mood was somber as the congregation prayed during weekend services for peace and a quick end to the war in Iraq.

"Even in the shadow of war's destruction, there are times when God acts to be building for the future, and this is one of them. What a day. It is a major day in the life of the congregation," Homer said.

"It has been a long almost four years. Our committee has now seen our fourth council president come and go," Tillman said. "At this point, there are no more hurdles."

Parking will be a challenge because the rear parking lot will be off-limits for a while, Tillman said.

Plans include adding 10 to 15 spaces in a 50-foot setback area. The spaces will be surfaced when the weather allows.

"Everybody's going to have to be real patient with parking," Tillman said.

Discussions are being held about handling large crowds at times such as Easter, he said.

Tillman hopes the beginning of construction will bring more donations to the Good Shepherd Building Fund. "The more money we can receive from donations, the less we will have to finance," he said.

Funds earmarked for the new building cover only the building and site work, not the furnishings.

"Tables, chairs, furniture, blackboards are not accounted for right now," Tillman said. "People might want to consider additional giving in that regard."

Information: church office, 410-838-8081, or the Good Shepherd Web site, www.lcgselca.org.

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