By Anna Ferraro
As of late this summer, Faith Lutheran Church’s beautiful building project is finally complete! The project added 30,000 square feet to the church, with an emphasis on increasing the church’s capacity for hospitality. In celebration, the church held an open house Sunday, November 10, from noon to 2 p.m.
Pastor Adam Dichsen shares, “This building project has been an incredible journey! From the first conversations and architectural designs to seeing new spaces used for the first time, we have seen God’s hand throughout.” After four previous additions/remodels over the past 71 years, Dichsen shares that “this project did a great job of tying them all together.”
Throughout the church, the only spaces not changed were the sanctuary and two bathrooms. The new spaces include two multipurpose rooms, a nursery, library, kitchen, offices and additional bathrooms.
A highlight of the new space is the ‘great room’ (fellowship hall) that, in Dichsen’s words, “proclaims the greatness of God.” He shares, “Every piece of artwork throughout the building (some created by our own members) proclaims our faith.”
Throughout the construction journey, Dichsen says, “It has been amazing to see the gifts and skills of our congregational volunteers as well as our workers, but even more so to see the way their faith took root and influenced this project. It wasn’t just another construction job, but a chance to offer ourselves and this space to God.”
On September 22, the church celebrated the completion of the project with a building dedication. Dichsen started that this event helped them remember that “when we dedicate something to God, it no longer exists for our purposes, but for God’s. We are thrilled to explore and discover what purposes God has for us in the years to come!”
Looking into their future as a church, Dichsen shares, “Our building is a warm and welcoming space to gather. I’m amazed at how much a change to the environments bring change to community. I’ve seen it in our congregation over the last few months, especially now as people find joy in being together before and after worship. I even have to start prodding people into the sanctuary to begin our worship service on time!”
The new spaces have so many benefits for the church, including streamlining the ways people interact with one another around services, meals, and events. They also hope to become a hub where community folks can use the space for small but reasonable fees. Dichsen rattled off a few numbers, saying, “We have a fellowship hall that seats 150 with a kitchen to serve them, classrooms and meeting rooms for groups up to 30 with up-to-date technology. Our sanctuary seats 200 and now has ample room for overflow and viewing with a live video feed. Our building is not for us … it’s for our community and the glory of God!”
Together, Faith Lutheran welcomed all to their open house on Sunday, November 10. Dichsen shared, “We just really want[ed] to welcome the community as we gather[ed] together to give thanks to God for the exciting things happening in our congregation’s ministry and greater community. [Jacksonville] is a community that is stronger when we are worshiping and serving together. We want to continue to be an integral part in that!”
Faith Lutheran Church is located at 1385 W. Walnut St. in Jacksonville. For more information, visit: www.faithlutheranjacksonville.com.