We are excited about the new First Floor Interior Renewal project for our church. We are substantially updating the first floor space where the current music rooms exists, installing a new first floor kitchen and refreshing the South Parlor and the Deerpath Room.
The choir has found the current music room to be unsuited for its needs. The ceiling is too low for proper acoustics and the risers in the room are difficult — to the point of being dangerous for our choir members to navigate. The choir is happily moving downstairs to occupy a portion of Fellowship Hall. They are pleased to have a high ceiling and more space to practice.
The first floor space that will be available when the choir moves is being converted into a gathering space for the congregation. This new space will encompass the choir room area as well as the existing kitchen and the surrounding hallways. The new service kitchen will be in the current choir robing room.
This new space will be a casual seating area that will allow easy fellowship with congregation members, church groups, and will be a gathering area for other groups, such as high schoolers to study before exams. The South Parlor will retain its formal yet residential feel for families to use during weddings, funerals and other more formal events.
Now that you understand what the project is, I want to tell you why we are doing it. Our congregation’s core practices include “connect” and “invite.” It is difficult for us to connect with guests in our midst when you have to be an insider to know how to get all the way down to the basement for fellowship after the 9:00 am service, or to the parlor after 11:00. We will be able to express God’s love to newcomers to the building so much more easily with this open space just outside of the sanctuary. The new space will also make it easier to host outside groups, who can experience Christian hospitality more fully.
Why are we doing this now while we are in a transition period? The answer goes to a lay leader’s comments saying that we are not idling through our interim period. We are moving forward to a visible future. It’s time to be proactive, and we are grateful for a congregation that sees this vision. We know the church is changing and we embrace this change. The church has had a history of changing or attempting to change every 20 years or so. We look at this renovation as positive, and we expect this renewal space to be used for another 100 years.
Our team includes David Tolmie, Nancy Thomson, Roger Burgis, Bob Price and Jan Gibson. We interviewed a number of architects to guide us through the process. We hired Diane Melichar of Melichar & Associates to design our new space. She is a church member and knows our building well–she has done substantial work on the building in the past. Altounian Construction has been hired to construct the space, and TDF Interiors was selected to oversee and execute the interior design of this space. One of our Buildings and Grounds committee members, Jim Mynhier, is our church project manager supervising the construction, and David Tolmie is leading the capital fundraising and we feel certain that the financial goals will be met, God willing. We feel confident in this team to lead us.
In addition, Nancy and Jan interviewed more than 20 church committees and individuals to establish how they currently use the first floor and how they would like to use the first floor in the future for activities and events. These reports were presented to our architect and interior designer for review and discussion. We have attempted to receive as much input as possible when designing the space that will be used by multiple groups. From these findings, we feel confident that activities will be plentiful including more lectures, fellowships, dining and youth activities in this space.
The timeline begins January 2, 2019, with full construction of space. We anticipate that construction will be completed by the third week of April as we prepare for Easter. The choir will move to their new home, the west end of Fellowship Hall, much earlier. Their new space is being designed and constructed starting next month.
Today, the permits are being submitted to the City of Lake Forest, and timelines are being met. Should you have questions, please contact Nancy Thomson, Jan Gibson or John Johnson about this exciting project. We are moving into a period of renewal and revitalization for our church. God bless our congregation as we move together through this transitional time.