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Three churches expand worship spaces

New sanctuaries are being built

Posted: May 2, 2012 - 12:00am  |  Updated: May 2, 2012 - 9:48am
Photo by Jim Blaylock  The Rev. Henderson Roberson and his wife, Nettie, at the new Second Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Harlem. The congregation moved into the church in mid-March and a dedication service was held April 15. The original Mount Moriah church was built 125 years ago.  Photo by Jim Blaylock 
The Rev. Henderson Roberson and his wife, Nettie, at the new Second Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Harlem. The congregation moved into the church in mid-March and a dedication service was held April 15. The original Mount Moriah church was built 125 years ago.
Photo by Jim Blaylock The Rev. Henderson Roberson and his wife, Nettie, at the new Second Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Harlem. The congregation moved into the church in mid-March and a dedication service was held April 15. The original Mount Moriah church was built 125 years ago.
Photo by Jim Blaylock The Rev. Henderson Roberson and his wife, Nettie, at the new Second Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Harlem. The congregation moved into the church in mid-March and a dedication service was held April 15. The original Mount Moriah church was built 125 years ago.

Twitter @ValerieRowell

Expansion projects continue for several Columbia County churches.

The congregation of Second Mount Moriah Baptist Church recently began attending services in a new sanctuary on Appling-Harlem Highway.

The church moved into the new sanctuary in March and held a dedication ceremony on April 15, said the Rev. Henderson Roberson, pastor of the church.

“We’re thoroughly satisfied,” Roberson said. “We’re enjoying it.”

The 125-year-old church is located on Bell Street in Harlem. That building, constructed in the 1960s, has problems.

Built with concrete blocks, the sanctuary is hard to heat and cool. There also is some termite damage and some windows need to be replaced, Roberson said.

The new $500,000 sanctuary was recently completed, after eight months of construction, on 12 acres just outside the Harlem city limits.

“We needed to move,” Roberson said. “The current location is in a bad state. It is cheaper to rebuild that to remodel. We decided to move.”

The new sanctuary accommodates about 125 people, the same number as the old church. The property allows space for future growth.

Riverview United Methodist Church also built a new building, one meant for Sunday school and offices, said Jean Garniewicz, who oversees church administration.

The building started as an 8,400-square-foot concrete slab on the church property on Fury’s Ferry Road. It houses seven Sunday school rooms, a secretary’s office and another office for the pastor. The congregation raised $400,000 for the construction, which started in September.

“Our church is on a steady growth campaign,” Garniewicz said. “We’ve done well. In the past four years, we’ve grown tremendously and we’ve outgrown this little church.”

Once money is raised, Garniewicz said plans are to construct a new sanctuary, which is expected to house 185 people, about twice the size of the existing one. The small, historic sanctuary will then be used as a fellowship hall.

“It’s very exciting,” Garniewicz said. “It’s a (success) story. A little church with a big heart.”

Wesley United Methodist Church in Evans also is undergoing some big changes.

After more than a year of construction, the new 12,000-square-foot sanctuary is nearly complete.

“We’re very pleased with it,” the Rev. Greg Porterfield said.

Porterfield expects to begin using the new sanctuary this month. It will double the amount of sanctuary space, seating about 1,000.

Once complete, the existing sanctuary will be remodeled. The two buildings will be connected and the project also includes a new courtyard, trees and a fountain. The entire project is expected to cost about $6 million.

“It will give us more room and allow us to have more space for other things,” Porterfield said.

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