More than 10 years in the making and the plans to renovate Rocky Point’s Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, known fondly as the fish church, are finally getting off the ground.
To signify the start of the massive, $1.5 million renovation to the parish hall, the church celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony on June 14. Construction should begin in a week or so.
The original parish hall, located at the back of the church and constructed in 1972, will be mostly knocked down and replaced, with 83 percent of the hall going under new construction. The updated hall will offer large, flexible spaces that can be subdivided for multiple meetings, and high ceilings for indoor play and congregational activities.
A new roof and energy efficient windows will also be installed.
In addition, a second entrance will be constructed, which will eliminate congestion at the original entrance to the church, along with an improved kitchen and food pantry facility for the Invited INN Soup Kitchen that operates out of the church. Throughout the last 10 years, the congregation raised approximately $730,000 — almost half of the money — needed to fund the restorations.
“When I think of this new space, it’s not just designing a bigger space, it’s significant events that will take place,” Pastor Jeffrey Kolbo said. “I see support groups, bible studies, all benefiting from this new space.”
While the space is already used for Sunday school, youth programs and a meeting place for various organizations, Kolbo thinks additional community groups will be able to utilize it.
The current building is 6,658 square feet, and the addition will add 2,211 square feet. The new main room will seat approximately 200 people and will be about 3,000 square feet.
Carol Moor, who runs the Invited INN soup kitchen, is very excited about the new upgrades to the kitchen and pantry. She said the church has generously provided the space throughout the years.
“A new, more efficient and upgraded kitchen will be great, since we cook everything in-house, from scratch,” Moor said. “And a bigger space also means that we can now host more than one meal per week and feed more people in need.”
The soup kitchen currently feeds about 70 to 80 people. However, after the renovations, the space will be able to hold around 200 people. The updates will also provide additional storage space to hold food for the soup kitchen.