Black Rock Congregational Church is getting ready to move from its sanctuary into temporary quarters to make way for its new home.
A groundbreaking ceremony -- the culmination of several revised plans over the years, which initially sparked fierce neighborhood opposition -- will take place Oct. 8 at the church's Black Rock Turnpike property. The final services in the old house of worship at 3685 Black Rock Turnpike will be on Oct. 14.
While construction on the new sanctuary takes place -- a project expected to take 15 months to complete -- Sunday services will be held at Notre Dame High School on Jefferson Street, while weekday activities will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 2475 Easton Turnpike. Church offices will move to 626 Surf Ave. in Stratford.
"Everyone here is very excited, as evidenced by an overwhelming number of volunteers -- 450 to help us set up/tear down at Notre Dame High School every Sunday," said Ken Brix, executive director. They had needed only 160, according to Brix.
The congregation's new church will feature a larger worship center, a dedicated wing for children's education, an expanded welcome center, two rooms dedicated for junior high and high school students, a cafe, a larger kitchen and a dedicated prayer room.
Brix said the new complex will allow the church's pastors and staff to serve more people. "We see it as our mission to reach as many people as we possibly can for Christ, so the primary motivation is to have more space for more people to hear the gospel," he said.
The congregation membership totals about 2,000 people, and the existing sanctuary seats 500. The new worship center will seat 950, according to Brix.
The new building will be built in two phases. The first phase involves construction of a 53,000-square-foot first floor, while the second phase will be construction of a 17,000-square-foot second floor. The existing building is a one-story, 33,000-square-foot structure.
Northbound and southbound turning lanes will be added to Black Rock Turnpike as part of the project in order to improve traffic flow, and the church's two driveways will be combined into one.