Church rising to meet parishioners’ needs
Victory and West Haven Baptist churches soon will have a new neighbor.
As building continues on U.S. Highway 24-40 for the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Parish Center, parishioners are seeing a major change for their parish. After all, the parish's home has been in that intimate white church on River Street since 1890.
It is hoped that in October, however, the roughly 350 Sacred Heart families will worship in a larger place -- a center with a 13,700 total square feet.
"We've had a little delay with all the rain," the Rev. Mark Goldasich said. "But that's OK, we need the rain."
Last week, brickwork was set to begin, weather permitting.
"Once they get that shell set up they'll be going great guns inside there," Goldasich said.
Sacred Heart's project at the highway site carries a $2.1 million price tag and is funded by a capital campaign within the church.
Before workers could turn any ground, the parish had to have half of the money "in hand" through its campaign, Goldasich said. At that point, the Kansas City archdiocese loaned the church the remaining half.
"People have been just really faithful in pledges and keeping up," Goldasich said. "That's just a tribute to our community here and McLouth.
"They're just good folks."
Goldasich has 2009 locked in as the target date for the loan being paid off. At that point, the parish again will begin a drive to fund the $3 million Phase II -- which will include the church proper that will be south of the parish center.
"Unless somebody hits the lottery," Goldasich said with a chuckle. "We keep playing it.
"Hit that Powerball. You win a hundred million, we'll take one."
Haren and Laughlin is constructing the building -- with Tonganoxie resident Gary Lamb supervising for the firm.
"He has just been a delight," Goldasich said of Lamb. "He's been super. He puts extra effort in because it's Tongie. We've just been real pleased."
The structure will include five permanent classrooms on the northwest side, along with a multi-purpose room that will hold mass services until the permanent church is built. The multi-purpose area can accommodate four classrooms with collapsible walls.
The parish center also will include three offices, work rooms for youth classes and a large kitchen.
As for Sacred Heart's longtime residence, Goldasich said the parish council is kicking around ideas regarding the church's future. So far, a possible move to the Tonganoxie Historical Site, which stands to the northwest, could be an option. The council also discussed making the church available for another congregation needing a small structure.
Although the new Sacred Heart campus currently is taking shape with the parish center's construction, more things are on tap. A meditation garden behind the center and the church proper is planned. And much further down the road, the parish hopes to construct a school.
For now, however, parishioners are seeing the first stage become a reality.
"It's humbling because we've been working on this so long and to finally see it rising out of the ground, it's pretty neat," Goldasich said.
West Haven Baptist Church
Rev. Rick Lamb has his eyes fixed on expansion at his church on U.S. Highway 24-40, but the view is distant for now.
"We're at a point where, yes, our church has grown, but we're raising money," Lamb said.
Last year at this time, West Haven was up to about $200,000. This year, the church's fund is up to nearly $300,000.
But with an approximate expansion project of $3.5 million, Lamb wants the church to be in a good position when it takes the expansion plunge.
"We're still very hopeful about the future but you have to be realistic with the budget," Lamb said.
The church possibly could look at breaking the project into two phases.
The first, roughly a $2 million project, would build for more educational room and the Awana Club, non-denominational youth program at the church.
The second phase, roughly a $1.5 million clip, would provide a new sanctuary.
In October 2001, West Haven paid off its debt for its existing church and its 10 acres, so members already have succeeded once in funding a major project.