Archive for Thursday, May 9, 2002

Churches fill with worshippers

May 9, 2002

When the number of houses and businesses increases, usually attendance at area churches does, too.

And many church congregations in Tonganoxie and Basehor find they've outgrown their buildings.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church has stood at 703 River Street in Tonganoxie for 112 years.

In the next few years, its parishioners will have a new residence.

The church is raising funds and plans to build on property just west of U.S. Highway 24-40 between Victory Baptist and West Haven Baptist churches.

Roughly three years ago, the Rev. Mark Goldasich and parishioners started to discuss a new church. In Goldasich's 11 years in Tonganoxie, the parish has increased by 100 families to its current 350-family size.

"We just have outgrown our space." Goldasich said. "On Easter Sunday, we filled it at the second morning mass in the church itself, with 70 people and a big screen TV downstairs."

The small space has also meant weddings are performed in larger Lawrence churches.

"When you can't celebrate stuff that's part of your family at church, you need new space," Goldasich said.

Roughly a year ago, architects completed a master plan for the new church and last summer, the archdiocese approved the church's plans. Sacred Heart must raise half of the project's funds for the Kansas City archdiocese to contribute its portion. The church's first phase has a $2 million price tag.

That project includes a multi-purpose center and classrooms. Goldasich said that barring someone winning the lottery and donating his or her winnings, the church would be conducting a capital campaign. The church already has $500,000 in funds.

Now, Sacred Heart will concentrate on raising funds from parishioners through the capital campaign.

After phase I is complete, Sacred Heart will embark on phase II the building of the church. The church itself should run at roughly $2 million as well. Once that is complete, phase III would be in the works. Although it's in the distant future, the church could look at building a school in that phase.

For now, parishioners will stay with the historic structure that has Goldasich said has touched many lives.

"For so many older parishioners, all of their lives have revolved around it," Goldasich said. "There's a lot of history."

There are no plans to take down the long-standing structure, but when the move does occur, Goldasich said Sacred Heart would take the intimate feel with it to the new site.

"Even if you're in the back, it's very homey," Goldasich said. "We want to take that family feeling with us. We'll probably do some kind of ceremony when we actually do make the move."

Basehor United Methodist Church

Some area churches are expanding or planning to move into a new church. The United Methodist Church in Basehor just wants a home.

A fire ruined the church's Basehor location more than four years ago, and services have been conducted in the Basehor-Linwood High School auditorium ever since.

The church, though, has found a site for its new home. The church will be constructed at 18660 158th Street, south of U.S. Highway 24-40.

Castle said the progress has been a welcome sign for the church.

"We've been through a long period of time without a sanctuary and without land," Castle said.

The church grounds, 10.5 acres, were purchased at the end of last year. A house already on the property will be turned into offices and Sunday school classrooms, while another pre-existing building that measures 30-by-60 feet will be remodeled for an exercise room and other activities.

The actual church construction has an estimated cost of $550,000. Basehor United Methodist already has $350,000 accounted for through insurance money, investments and other contributions. The remaining $200,000 will be funded through a capital campaign at the church.

Groundbreaking for the church will be April 28 and Castle hoped the structure would be ready for services Sept. 1.

Basehor United Methodist Church has roughly 75 families, with Castle and Rev. Claudia Hubbard as the church's residing pastors.

A new church is becoming more of a reality for the Basehor congregation, but Castle said the church has had a long wait.

"It's going OK," Castle said. "It's not been the best, but it's been OK. We're looking forward to having our own space."

West Haven Baptist Church

West Haven Baptist Church of Tonganoxie is growing in numbers.

When its structure will expand is unknown.

The church, along U.S. Highway 24-40, has seen considerable growth in recent years. When current minister Rick Lamb came to Tonganoxie nine years ago, the church averaged about 70 to 80 church members. This year, the numbers are at about 300 members, and West Haven earlier this month, started having two Sunday services instead of one.

The initial growth prompted the church to meet with Mantel and Teter Inc., a Kansas City architectural firm, about a year and a half ago. A model was assembled and the church is looking to expand, although Lamb was uncertain when that would be.

"We're hopeful that within another year we can make a decision, make the loan and progress," Lamb said. "It depends on the money."

West Haven plans to have two building phases in the project that calls for 24,686 total square feet. The building additions will be constructed south of the existing church.

The first phase will account for about 40 percent of the space and will have a large nursery and four large classrooms, along with a kitchen and much more foyer space.

Phase II, which involves a multi-purpose room that's the size of a gymnasium and includes a platform, accounts for the expansion's other 60 percent. Both phases will include classrooms on ground and basement levels.

The church first discussed the need for expansion roughly two years ago when Sunday school space was becoming scarce. The first step toward alleviating the problem came in the form of a mobile home. The temporary building was brought in during February and is use as classroom space.

Discussion two years ago also involved more space for fellowship and large gatherings.

The church paid off its debt for the present church structure and its 10 acres in October, and Lamb hopes the church can raise money for its next project. West Haven will look primarily to its general fund and its tithing to finance the project, along with any additional donations from the church. Lamb said the church wouldn't have anything like bake sales to raise funds.

"Our church is very faithful in the way they give and in their support," Lamb said. "This church is very consistent in generosity."

Another project would include extending the current sanctuary east into the existing parking lot, but Lamb said that project is in the future perhaps 10 to 15 years from now

Tonganoxie Christian Church

One area church has already completed an addition.

Tonganoxie Christian Church opened the doors to its family life center last September. The structure includes classrooms for Genesis Christian Academy, which provides education for students preschool through sixth grade, along with a full-size gymnasium and a stage.

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