Light rain didn't chase away the congregation of Christ Church Presbyterian as they celebrated the groundbreaking for their own sanctuary Jan. 22 on Furys Ferry Road.
The church's music and congregational life minister, the Rev. Mark Nabholz, said Thursday he hopes the congregation will be moved into a new 12,000-square-foot sanctuary at Furys Ferry Road and Southern Pines Drive by Christmas.
"(The contractors) are saying 10 months, which is pretty amazing, so apparently they have their subs lined up and ready to go," Nabholz said.
About 160 members watched as the church pastor, the Rev. Gordon Reed, ceremonially turned the dirt for the new building with the church's architect, McDonald Law; Glynn Dyer, the chairman of the diaconate; general contractors John Allen and DeVane Batchelor; and William Hatcher, the chairman of the church building committee.
Though church members are eager to move into their own building, Nabholz said his congregation is grateful to the First Baptist Church of Evans, where the church has held services for more than a year.
The time the congregation has spent with Evans Baptist has inspired the church to reach out to other new churches in Columbia County to share space, he said.
The first phase of the church is a $3.2 million sanctuary that will seat 450, which will provide plenty of space for a congregation that has grown to 200 since the church was established two years ago.
"We're going to be anxious to move on into phase two as soon as we can, and that is supposed to include administrative space and classroom space," Nabholz said. "Phase three is a fellowship hall."
The church bought a 12-acre wooded site after an exhaustive search for land or a church building west of Augusta, Nabholz said.
"We really had not planned on being that far out ... but it just seemed like nothing was working out to keep us close" to the city, he said. "When this property came available, we thought this must be it and we all agreed."
The location, Nabholz said, will ultimately be a blessing because of the increasing residential development along Furys Ferry Road.
The design "looks like everybody's ideal home church. and we're really hoping to be a community-based, neighborhood-based congregation," he said. "We'd really love it if people would walk to our church."
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