By Judy Tacyn
Low ceilings and dark carpets and walls may have been the style in churches decades ago, but members of Galilee Lutheran Church knew it was time for much-needed updates to both the interior and exterior of the building.
Gary Thomas, manager of renovation projects, said the planning took two years, but after breaking ground in October 2018, the changes to the interior are now complete.
The project, which exceeded $500,000, included a new sidewalk leading to an impressive pergola at the main entrance of the church. In the narthex and sanctuary is new flooring, fresh white paint on the walls and ceilings, updated lighting, new furniture and a state-of-the art sound and projection system. Most renovations bring unplanned surprises, and this one was no different. It was discovered that a total of 21 windows needed to be replaced due to rotting. Improvements to the parking lot, including fixing drainage issues, are still in progress at the Mountain Road church.
“The changes were a long time coming, but everything came together beautifully,” said Bob Cosler, congregational president. “We came in on time, on budget, and with minimal disruption. We’re just tickled!”
The new sanctuary space not only looks great, but it is bright and joyful, if not a bit of an optical illusion. The once dark – now pristine white - domed roof opens the sanctuary to highlight the soaring ceiling while not distracting from the beauty or serenity of the space, and it makes the entire space look larger.
Repositionable chairs have replaced bench pews in some areas of the sanctuary. The seating arrangements allow flexibility to use the space for activities like Bible study, concerts and community events. An updated audio and visual system allows families with children the opportunity to leave the service and still watch or listen from the lobby, nurseries or other locations.
“As I focus on discipleship at Galilee, the building and how it looks has never been my primary focus, but this renovation has provided a more welcoming space for people to connect, find encouragement, and have the confidence to then go out and share Jesus with others,” said Emily Phoenix, director of discipleship. “We are blessed to have a building to gather and worship in, as not all ministries and churches have that, and while God can be worshipped in any space, this highlights the value we place in gathering as a community to learn about and worship Jesus.”
Thomas insisted that the extensive project was enjoyable. “We had an excellent team that worked very well together,” he said.
“I’d like to thank Gary for providing just the kind of leadership we needed on this project, Messick & Associates (engineers), and Maryland Contracting and Design (interior designers),” added Cosler. “But mostly, thank you to everyone who contributed toward or prayed for this project. I cannot say that enough.”
Comments from members have been positive and encouraging, Phoenix added. “People are faithful, regardless of what the space looks like, but it has been a facelift in a season of transition as we search for a new pastor,” she said.
READ MORE ABOUT GALILEE:
READ MORE ABOUT RENOVATIONS IN PASADENA: