BANGOR — It was disappointing when the city of Bangor denied a request by Pilgrim Orthodox Presbyterian Church to build an addition to its facility at 375 Mount Hope Ave. Now, says the Rev. Jonathan Falk, the denial may be “a blessing in disguise.”
“We had hoped to add on and expand parking,” Falk acknowledged Thursday, but many of the church’s neighbors said that the expansion would change the residential nature of the neighborhood.
The congregation still needs more space for worship and other activities, Falk said, and with creativity the parishioners have found a way to meet those needs.
Three-and-a-half weeks of renovations will begin on Monday, Oct. 31, he said. Therefore, the church will hold just one worship this weekend, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, at Mount Hope Avenue. On Nov. 6, 13 and 20, the congregation will worship at 2 p.m. at Twin City Baptist Church, 559 North Main St., Brewer.
Seating for an additional 45 to 50 people will be created by taking out the pews and replacing them with padded chairs. Movable walls will help the church accommodate different activities, and the downstairs will be a permanent classroom. The church will also get a new heating system.
When the plans for traditional expansion fell through, Falk said, the church did look at other alternatives, including moving elsewhere. But the current building means a lot to the congregation.
“Five families put it up 30 years ago at great sacrifice,” Falk said. The decision was made to use a creative approach to meeting the space needs. In addition, reconfiguring the space will save a lot of money compared with rebuilding.
The current project may cost about $90,000 to $100,000, he said, enabling the congregation to avoid borrowing money. Savings may be enough to do the project.