Black Rock Congregational Church has the church, and the steeple, and soon will open the doors of its new Black Rock Turnpike home to all its people.

Services at the new church are scheduled to begin June 15.

"We're probably a couple of months later than we expected to be, but we're not too far off," said Ken Brix, the congregation's executive director.

Those that have been able to tour the church complex at 3685 Black Rock Turnpike, which incorporated some of the original building, have been impressed, he said.

"We've gotten a great reaction," he said. "Everybody that sees it, loves it."

The congregation broke ground in October 2009, after about a decade of planning, preparations and securing the required permits.

Plans initially sparked fierce neighborhood opposition, with critics describing the early design as a "mega-church."

Plans were revised several times, and in 2009, the overall size of the new church was reduced, in part, because of the sluggish economy.

While the church was being built, the congregation's services were conducted at Notre Dame High School, and weekly activities were moved to First Presbyterian Church on Easton Turnpike. The church offices were relocated to Stratford.

The new church complex includes a worship center that can accommodate 950 people, a wing designated for children's education, an expanded welcome center, rooms for junior high and high school students, a cafe, a larger kitchen and a prayer room.

A small cross tops the sanctuary's white steeple, and Brix said a larger cross will be installed inside the building.

"There were a number of unexpected costs, especially as we went through the renovation part of this project," Brix said. "But other than that, there weren't any major surprises."

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