Church dedicates new addition
A full house came to watch Sunday morning's dedication ceremony for a new addition at the Tonganoxie Christian Church.
The addition, initially projected to cost $3 million, came at a cost of $2,070,000, said the Rev. Ben Saathoff, who credited church members with the savings.
"A lot of our people have helped on this," Saathoff said. "They spent a lot of weekends here, and our people have taken their vacation times and sacrificed time with their family to come in here and work to make this possible."
Haren and Laughlin Construction, Lenexa, built the facility.
The 26,000-square-foot addition adds to the church's previously existing 18,000-square-foot area which houses the sanctuary, reception area, church offices and classrooms.
This new addition includes a gymnasium with stage surrounded by a second-floor walkway. Classrooms line the hallways on both floors.
Saathoff said the interior rooms of the church would be completed as funds become available.
"We decided to build a larger building and furnish it as we go, rather than to have it be complete from the start," Saathoff said.
An estimated 425 people attended Sunday's service. George Sprague, an elder of the church, said church numbers have grown since Ben and Margaret Saathoff and family came to Tonganoxie 26 years ago.
At that time, about 95 attended Sunday worship service. Now, the church averages an attendance of 365.
"I could stand in the foyer of the old church on Fourth Street and I knew the name of every man, woman and child," Sprague said. "Today those little bitty babies are here with children of their own and I don't know half their names. But it's been good, we've been blessed."
Sprague said the Saathoffs' presence has been a big part of the church's growth.
"It is unique to have a minister stay at a church as long as Ben has been here," Sprague said. "We've had some visions and I think Ben has promoted these visions for growth in the ministry. It's taken a lot of prayers."