Archive for Friday, April 6, 2001


April 6, 2001


Drive by Calvary Temple Assembly of God -- the little stone church at 606 W. 29th St. -- and you'll see some additions.

Like a new steeple on the roof and three large, wooden crosses on the lawn to represent the biblical Calvary, the place where Jesus died.

But those aren't the only additions the church is contemplating.

Calvary Temple's sanctuary is running out of room.

After it pays off a small debt on the parsonage, the church will start to consider a building project that would expand the sanctuary to seat 300 people -- 100 more than it currently can hold.

Even that would only be an intermediate step to accommodate the church's growth.

"An addition would let us build our base (of members) large enough so that we could support the building of a new sanctuary and office space," said the Rev. Marshall Lackrone, pastor of Calvary Temple.

But he's philosophical about the need to plan for more room for the congregation.

"An evangelical church like this one believes in always reaching out to more people with the Gospel," Lackrone said. "How could we look at someone and say, 'We don't have room for you?' I could see people saying that at a basketball game, but not a church."

Lackrone's not the only pastor in town who's looking for more room or ways to fix up the space he already has.

Other churches in Lawrence have renovation projects, capital campaigns to buy a larger building or plans to expand current facilities.

Leap of faith

One example is Unity Church of Lawrence, 416 Lincoln St.

"The church was built in 1891, without modern anything. It's still pretty simple," said the Rev. Sherry Schultz, pastor of Unity.

The needs of the congregation have outstripped the building, which isn't handicapped accessible and lacks both space and adequate parking.

The church started a capital campaign last fall and raised about $227,000 in pledges toward a new location.

Unity is in contract negotiations to buy the building that used to house the service center for Lawrence public schools, 3705 Clinton Parkway Drive. The church has submitted a bid of $905,000.

If the contract is completed and everything goes according to plan, Unity could occupy the building this fall, Schultz said.

"It's just a big leap of faith. We're going from a very tiny mortgage to a not-tiny mortgage. Once we hammer out the details of the contract, we will take it to the congregation for a final vote," she said.

Christ Community Church, 1100 Kasold Drive, is running out of room, too -- even though it's only been in its present building since August. That's when it moved from 1449 Kasold Drive to a campus at 6001 W. 15th St.

Christ Community is in the early stages of a capital campaign to raise funds for a new education wing and a gym.

"Our children's ministry on Sunday nights already has had to move to Sunset Hill School," said the Rev. Beau Abernathy, senior pastor.

Lawrence Wesleyan Church, Ninth and Madeline streets, is looking to move to a larger building and is scouting for possible locations.

The initial stage of a capital campaign has raised about $100,000 in pledges toward a new building, according to the Rev. Larry Fish, Wesleyan's assistant pastor.

Restoring heritage

Meanwhile, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt., is nearing the end of nearly two years of construction and renovation.

On Oct. 1, the church took occupancy of a two-story, 14,000-square-foot addition that includes classrooms, meeting areas, a chapel and a courtyard.

The addition replaced the old south church, which was demolished in October 1999.

Now the second part of the project -- renovating the old north church -- is almost complete.

The north church -- the wing to the north of the historic sanctuary -- has a lobby, staff offices and the church kitchen. The work there should be done by Easter, according to John Esau, co-chair of the Second Century Committee, which has overseen the church's two-part project.

Church leaders have estimated the cost of building the addition and renovating the north wing at between $3 million and $3.5 million. The recent renovation work, which will include furnishings and fixtures, will take up about $500,000 of that amount.

"We're updating all of the finishes and really bringing that space up to present-day needs. We've converted quite a bit of space into an office suite. And we've moved the kitchen to a more convenient location," Esau said.

Esau said the church has gone to all the trouble and expense of its recent projects because of the long-standing history between Plymouth and Lawrence, dating back to the city's founding.

"The people who went before us paved the way for us to enjoy the magnificent sanctuary building. It's really our responsibility to have the same courage they had to build for the future," Esau said.

-- Staff writer Jim Baker can be reached at 832-7173.

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