It’s been a long time coming, but Bethel Baptist Church in Westville is finally putting the finishing touches on a new wing to their church building.
“God has been very good to us and we’ve needed more space for some time,” said Pastor Ryan King.
Construction began about two and a half years ago on a 4,800-square-foot addition that will allow them to seat about 240 people in a new auditorium. In their current auditorium they’ve been averaging about 140 on their Sunday mornings. The former auditorium will be used as a fellowship hall once the new one opens.
In addition to a new auditorium, the expansion includes more bathrooms to accommodate the growing congregation as well as a baptismal tank. New roofing and new siding were also applied to the entire building.
Part of the reason the process took so long, King says, is because the church did the construction almost exclusively with volunteer labour from within the congregation. This allowed them to complete the project for just the cost of materials.
“We’re a church that attracts people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Because of that we’re not a very wealthy church,” King said.
Given that and uncertainty in the economy, it was important for the church not to borrow money.
“We were able to do it ourselves and pay for it as we went along, but it took a long time to do.”
He said the church was fortunate to have many skilled labourers able to do the work, including red seal carpenters and a red seal electrician. These people spent many weekends and evenings working away to make the project a reality.
“The people have been so good to use their talents,” he said. “Whether it was high skilled work or general labour, everyone has pitched in to some capacity.”
King said the church is also grateful for support community businesses have given, including a rental company that lent them what they needed for free, a crane company that donated boom work and a painter who did all the labour for the ceiling free of charge.
“We’ve had incredible blessings from the community that see a non-profit work that is trying to make a difference in the community.”
For all those who contributed to the project, he said, they want to extend a heartfelt thank you.
Want to see it?
On Saturday Oct. 27 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., the church is inviting people in the community who have seen the expansion happening and want to have a look, to come and check it out for themselves. There will be face painting and balloon animals for the kids as well as hot dogs which will be given away free. There will be no preaching that day. Then, on Sunday Oct. 28, the opening church service will be held at 11 a.m. with an evening service at 6 p.m. as well. The church is located at 1948 Temperance Street in Westville and can be seen from Drummond Road.