The expansion work at Kensington Congregational Church is taking shape, with much of the frame in place.
Building Committee Chair Allan Hall said the added space is needed to accommodate the growing needs of the church’s approximately 300 parishioners. “In order to address today’s society’s needs we needed this,” he said.
The renovations center around the Parish Hall, a brick building adjacent to the church which housed the church kitchen, bathroom and some meeting spaces.
A new kitchen is being built on the southern side of the hall. The bottom floor will house an archive, youth room and educational center. Two additional bathrooms and an elevator are also being added.
On the northern side of the hall, an addition is being constructed to connect the building to the church, so that parishioners won’t have to go outside to get to the bathrooms or make use of the hall in general.
A new parking lot will be paved south of the hall.
Meanwhile, the entire second floor of the church is being converted to seating space.
“We think we’ve enhanced our position tremendously to hold events and serve our community,” Hall said. With the many events the church hosts and participates in, he said the new space will also benefit the town at large. “It’s not just to serve our church, this is to serve the whole community.”
A dedication is expected to take place in approximately four months.
Raising over $1 million for the project helped bring the church’s congregation together, said Gwen McCann, director of Christian faith formation. “(It) made us appreciate what we could accomplish together. That was a really positive experience for the church,” she said.
The new space will provide the church with more room for its yearly events, such as the Night in Bethlehem and Festival on the Hill, and programs like summer vacation Bible school.
Also, the church plans to rent the space and allow non-profit groups to use it at no charge.
“We had pretty much outgrown our old parish hall … not only were we in need of space, we were in need of upgrades,” McCann said. “We’re really looking forward to the coming weeks and months and what it might do for our community.”