Westminster United Church enters new renovation phase

June 16, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Written By: Jasen Obermeyer

Orangeville’s Westminster United Church, at 247 Broadway, is continuing its renovation phases by remodeling its sanctuary, making it comfortable for the physically challenged and modernizing the building.

The congregation’s Property Action Group and a Facility Utilization team, collaborating with the architectural firm Dickinson and Hicks, has completed several phases of renewing the church.

New washrooms have been installed, the entrance renewed, the parking lot paved and an entrance off Broadway secured. An elevator installed for the physically challenged allows easier access to the sanctuary.

The church is currently working on the sanctuary, in a phase estimated to be completed the end of November. Depending on a new projector and screen, total costs of renovations are approximately $385,000. The United Church of Canada contributed $190,000, the rest coming from the congregation’s fundraising campaign launched in 2012.

Renovations include removing the balcony, replacing pews with removable chairs and leveling the entire sanctuary floor.

Steve Brown, Chair of the Renovation Committee and Chair of the Worship and Sacraments Action Group, says the floor’s noticeable slope makes it difficult and uncomfortable for the physically challenged.

“As people came with wheelchairs and walkers it was really obvious that the rest of the church as it existed, the centre part in particular, wasn’t safe for them.”

There will be an extended platform with removable pieces for extra space and a movable organ console and grand piano.

The minister, Rev. Sandra McLauchlan Abuja, says the renovations help modernize the church. “We value history, but we don’t want to stay in the past. We want to keep moving forward and be relevant.”

She says the church wants people feeling fed when they come. “Whether it is of some kind of spiritual nature. Whether it be in the arts, whether it is in worship, coming and getting a meal.”

Mr. Brown says the sanctuary won’t be limited to church and worship. “I think it would be negligent of us not to consider other potential revenue streams in a space this big.” He says they can have guest speakers, conferences and concerts.

Renovations for the kitchen and church hall are also under way.

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