KINGSTON TWP. — Back Mountain Harvest Assembly will construct a 36,000-square-foot church on the site of The Gift, located at 340 Carverton Road in Trucksville.
Pastor Ray Petts said the news may take some people by surprise, but the construction will address the growing congregation’s needs and expand on the limited space the existing church offers.
The planned $3 million facility will be “four times bigger than the current worship center,” Petts said.
Faithful fans of The Gift, which is the nativity story of Jesus held every December, should have no fear.
The performance is slated for the 2016 holiday season, but then will take a year off while the new church and nativity set are built simultaneously, he said. The Gift is planned to return in 2018.
“We will flip The Gift set to the opposite side of the mountain,” Petts said.
The Back Mountain Harvest Assembly congregation has the original church bursting at the seams.
“We have about 400 people attend Sunday morning services,” said Sarah Makarewicz, music director at the church.
Modular buildings were added to the existing church structure to accommodate parishioners and programs.
“Our present location is very inadequate to properly minister to the kids the way we want to,” Petts said. “We want to have a centralized location.”
The children’s program are currently scattered throughout the facility.
“If you go to the second floor of the sanctuary there are the 3 to 5 (aged children),” Petts said. “Then if you go downstairs to the Fellowship Hall there is the nursery for infants to 2 year olds. And if you go, through the sanctuary, out the back, and to the left there are the 6 to 12 year old programs.”
The new worship center will have a dedicated children’s wing, an expansive hospitality lounge and large worship center, Petts said.
The planned facility will also provide room for a new planned children’s development center called Raise Up a Child Family Center for 3 to 12 year olds.
“We want to take children and let them discover their gifts, talents and abilities, and give them an opportunity to explore that,” Petts said.
Petts hopes construction will begin in the spring of 2017, pending weather, permits and time.
“One permit can take up to six months,” he said.
The congregation partially funded the new facility. Parishioners collected a total of $1.1 million during the Spiritual Growth Campaign for the new worship center.
The church will finance the remaining expense, Petts said.
The existing church, built in 1974, will remain active with a new role as the Fellowship Hall.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.