A new $1.2 million, 5,800-square-foot fellowship hall building project broke ground Sunday, July 7, at the Christian Reformed Church of Pease.
The fellowship hall is intended to replace the Pease church’s current fellowship space, which resides on the second floor of the church. According to Pastor Michael Ten Haken, the new construction is needed due to a lack of space.
“After worship services on Sunday mornings it’s pretty crowded back there and we wanted to create a space where it was more conducive for visiting after the worship services,” he said.
With the current fellowship hall being upstairs, Ten Haken said that accessibility is also a driving factor to build the new fellowship hall, which will help people who have trouble with stairs gain easier access.
“A pretty important part of the church community is the fellowship, the gathering together,” he said and then quoted Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
The new fellowship hall will also serve as a space to host funerals, funeral lunches, wedding receptions or any other gatherings for events, Ten Haken said.
“All of these things kind of work together,” he said. “The worship space is one space and then the fellowship space is another piece of that and just being a community together.”
The building project should be completed next year, just in time for the church’s 125-year celebration.
“We hope to be dedicating a new fellowship space as part of that celebration. That’s our goal,” Ten Haken said.
Kevin Koppendrayer, who is the vice president of the church’s council and council representative for this fellowship hall project, said that pledge drives were held over a year ago in order to get a feel from the congregation on how dedicated they were for a new fellowship hall.
“The farther along in the project we got and the more pledges we got, the more came in. And it’s still going that way. The momentum is really going,” Koppendrayer said.
While the new fellowship hall doesn’t appear to be entirely paid by pledges at this point, Koppendrayer said the church initially got approved for a bank loan but that will not be needed because members of the congregation offered money to help fund the project at lower interest rates.
Some of the funding for the project will also come from two estate gifts left to the church.
With the church’s 125th anniversary approaching, Koppendrayer said most of the congregation is supportive of the new church building.
“It just seems like the farther we get, the momentum rolls, and people are excited,” Koppendrayer said.
Mark Wasson is an APG of East Central Minnesota freelance contributing reporter.