Nearly 150 years after its construction in 1873, the sanctuary in Bellpoint Community Church is finally receiving much-needed renovations.
Located at 4711 state Route 257 S. in Delaware, work on the church’s sanctuary began in August, and the final touches on the project are expected to be completed in the next week or two.
“It’s a complete renovation of the sanctuary part of the church, turned the whole thing around from front to back and back to front,” Larry Hopper, a member of the church’s Staff-Parish Relations Committee, told The Gazette. “It made it easier to access for people to get in and out of the church and made it more receptive to weddings and other activities. We just wanted a completely new and refreshing presentation to the community.”
During the renovations, Bellpoint Community Church has held its services in the church’s community room and anticipates moving back into its sanctuary in two weeks.
The renovations have been paid for entirely by donations from the church’s congregation, and with many volunteers helping with the renovations, the church was able to reduce some of the costs. Hopper estimated the total cost of the work is around $50,000.
“It’s long overdue,” Hopper said of the renovations. “(The sanctuary) has been that way, basically, since the church was built. We did some painting and some things like that before, but this, we just flipped the whole thing around to make it more appealing for people and more useful for activities.”
Hopper said the church was never really set up well for weddings because there were split rows leading to the front of the sanctuary. Now, there is a single row that will be more appealing to brides looking for a venue.
“We’ve had issues in the past where people have looked at it and, either they’ve had to really make adjustments to what their wedding plans were, or just move on to someplace else,” he said.
While the project is aimed at modernizing the sanctuary, there were some elements the church was sure to preserve, including the stained glass windows. Hopper said the wood trim around the windows was painted, and the lighting was improved to highlight the windows.
“We hope it entices people to come to church,” Hopper went on to say. “We have a welcoming atmosphere, something that when you walk in, you feel comfortable. And now it feels more open and inviting than it used to be. Before, it was kind of dark in there, so you kind of feel bunched in. So we want people to realize that we’re not stuck in the dark ages.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.