Residents in James City County can look forward to a bigger community impact from King of Glory Lutheran Church in the coming year as the church expands their building.
According to documents from the James City County Planning Commission, the building will be expanded by 19,001 square feet. However, Peter Aiello, director of operations, for the church said the expansion will be a total of 29,000 square feet.
“It’s much less about building and parking lots, and more focusing on people,” said Bill Harmon, the church’s pastor. “We look at it as creating a path forward that enables us to reach out more in the community.”
The church’s special use permit was approved by the James City County Planning Commission on Wednesday and has been recommended for approval to the Board of Supervisors, Aiello said.
The church has a total congregation of 884 members, which has been steadily growing over the years through community outreach and partnerships, Harmon said. As the church grows, Harmon said leaders want to continue to expand what the church offers, which means in certain areas requiring more space.
Two years ago the church did a “dream study,” Harmon said, where it asked members to identify what they wanted to offer the community around them and what would help move them toward their mission of spreading God’s love.
A few years ago, the church expanded its campus by adding a large multipurpose room, new meeting rooms and offices which created more space to expand with community partners such at the Mercy House and Faith in Action.
“It seeks to fulfill our vision in sharing the love of Jesus,” Harmon said. “So what did Jesus do? He cared for those in need, served people, loved people, to us the expansion takes us a few more steps closer to fulfilling that.”
The first part of the expansion is to construct the new building, Aiello said. The second is to renovate 6,500 square feet of existing classroom space. Part of this renovation will be to transform the current sanctuary into three additional classrooms in order to add room for toddler and infant care. Currently, the church offers a preschool program for 2-year-olds — half-day and full-day care.
In addition, the church will be expanding with a new sanctuary, administrative offices and doubling the size of kitchen.
“Think of it as one whole expansion,” Harmon said. “We are creating new space which is the sanctuary so we can use the current space for the community around us.”
The project consists of constructing a new building that includes 550 seats in the worship space as well as related storage spaces, Aiello said.
Harmon said the plan is to double the size of the kitchen in order to accommodate for the heavy use the area gets. The church provides meals weekly for homeless programs in the area and in the summer works with Grove Christian Outreach Center to bring meals to students who are on free and reduced lunch.
All of the changes will help propel the church in its community endeavors, Harmon said.
“This congregation is only 28 years old, and it has always been in its DNA to be a community church,” he said. “It has always wanted to engage in the community and the dream process helps to fulfill that.”
In addition, the church will be installing 155 new paved parking spaces to the lot.
The congregation still needs to approve the building plans for the campus but Harmon said he is hoping to break ground on the project as early as January.