COLUMBIA — In the past year, St. Andrew's Lutheran Evangelical Church has renovated its roof, carpet and lighting. The foundation has been repaired, and all of the entrances and restrooms have been upgraded.
The building gained an updated fire suppression system, as well as an improved heating and cooling system. Other changes include a larger parking lot and an expanded lobby for coffee and fellowship between services.
The church at 914 West Blvd. S. will celebrate the conclusion of a major construction project at an open house from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday. It will be preceded by a dedication service at 10 a.m.
Food will be provided at the open house, which will also include performances by a youth jazz band, string ensemble and adult praise band singer Hilary Scott, who is a church member. There will also be activities for children.
"We've been thinking and dreaming for about five years," Senior Pastor Paul Moessner said.
After St. Andrews' 50th anniversary in 2008, the congregation began to consider ways to move forward with the ministry. The idea of renovating the building stemmed from conversations about maintenance.
"We want to be a good steward for our building," Associate Pastor Julia Will said. "We want to be a more visual presence."
Some revisions were a congregational effort. After an architect submitted potential plans, members had the opportunity to give input. Members helped re-cover chairs in the worship area after an upholsterer gave a demonstration.
"This is their church," Will said. "It's God's house, but it's under their care."
She said physical changes will allow the church to better continue its ministerial efforts.
"The reason for this building is so that we can continue ministry and share ministry," Will said. "When you don't have to worry about things like the roof, it's energy for other things."
Other changes included expanding the square footage of the youth facilities, adult education office and administration office, Moessner said.
Baby-changing stations in men's restrooms, a prayer room and a portico were also added. Former offices are now Sunday school classrooms.
The front area is more open and bright because the wall separating the worship area from the lobby has been replaced with glass doors..
"The renewed worship space has a new beauty to it," Moessner said.
Renovations to the entrances and bathrooms were done to comply with ADA regulations for accessibility.
The work was not completed without setbacks. On June 4, a fire occurred in the attic of a new building of the church. The possible cause was insulation overheating from the building's lights.
Sunday's open house, which is free and open to the public, will let the community see the results of a year of labor.
"It's not just, 'come see the building,' it's 'come see God's work,'" Will said.
Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbot.