Franklin Park planners OK plan for church's expansion
By Tory N. Parrish
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Orchard Hill Church's steady growth since its founding 25 years ago is resulting in expansion on- and off-site.
Not only has the Franklin Park church been holding services in Pittsburgh's Cultural District since October, but on Tuesday Franklin Park's five planning commission members unanimously recommended that the borough council approve a preliminary site plan and conditional use permit for a chapel and maintenance building the church wants to build on its Brandt School Road property.
Worship services and special ceremonies are held in a space that seats about 1,500 people, said Orchard Hill's senior pastor, the Rev. Kurt Bjorklund.
Bjorklund said the current Franklin Park facility doesn't accommodate weddings and funerals as well as the church would like. “We have more of an auditorium kind of feel,” he said.
The church needs extra space for worship services – between 2,500 and 3,000 people attend Orchard Hill functions throughout the week — so the chapel will allow for alternative worship services on Sunday mornings, he said.
The second level will be used for administrative space, but the entire addition will be connected to the current church, Bjorklund said.
The construction projects will cost an estimated $3 million, but when Orchard Hill breaks ground will be determined by funding availability and when the design is finalized, he said.
An interdenominational Christian church, Orchard Hill is considered a megachurch that is experiencing growth because of new residential growth in the North Hills and word-of-mouth referrals, he said.
“I would like to think that a lot of it is people having a good experience here in their own worship and growing their relationship with God, and then inviting other people to be a part of that,” he said.
In October, the church started holding additional services at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in the Cultural District. About 150 to 200 congregants were meeting there, but because of the Wilson center's financial woes — a conservator has recommended liquidating it — Orchard Hill was asked to relocate its services by Jan. 1.
The church's satellite services now are held at the Westin Convention Center hotel. Since a Downtown satellite location was added, church attendance has increased 8 percent, church administrative assistant Jackie Wick said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Part of East Park Drive in South Park to close for month
- Ballroom dancing sessions in Franklin Park provide exercise, camaraderie
- No plans for Marshall to amend oil, gas drilling ordinance
- Dormont hands over management of pool
- Theraputic League teaches Western Pa. students value of sports beyond wins and losses