St. Paul welcomes public to see completed remodeling
It was not that long ago when Sunday school classes at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Hampton were conducted in hallways and closets.
After seven years of remodeling and expanding and more than a decade of aggressive fund-raising campaigns, Sunday school is back in the classroom at St. Paul.
The $4 million work at the church, which was built in 1967, includes a new church sanctuary, expanded room for the church's child care center and a new multipurpose room, which can be used for anything from a formal dinner to a basketball game. The church also expanded its library.
An open house is scheduled for 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, 1965 Ferguson Road, to showcase these improvements.
"These improvements to the church represent a sacrifice on the part of many people to the church," said the Rev. Ron Hoellein, who has been a pastor at the church for 11 years and has overseen almost all of the remodeling and expansion.
Church members have raised money over many years with events such as bake sales and car washes, he said. Some contributions were the result of individual sacrifices, such as members brown-bagging lunch instead of ordering out.
Hoellein said Sunday's open house is just as much for members of the community as it is for the 1,300 members of St. Paul.
"We would like our neighbors to see this," Hoellein said. "Many of them have put up with a lot of noise for a long time."
The open house also will be helpful for people planning projects at their churches, he said.
"We also hope that people from any other church interested in doing renovations will visit," he said. "They may be able to get some ideas about what they might want to do."
The nearly $4 million spent on the project was collected in three capital fund-raising campaigns. For most members of the church, contributions they made to the St. Paul capital project were in addition to regular contributions to the church.
The church has doubled in size as a result of the project.
The most recent addition to the church were nine new offices built out of a room that was the parish hall.
"There had been a real shortage of office space for a long time," said Faith Geer, the church's administrative director, who manages a staff of 15.
The additions to the church also left St. Paul better equipped to handle its large child care and preschool operations. There are about 320 students in the two programs, although some children attend the program at McKnight United Methodist Church, along McKnight Road.
What is most notable about the remodeled church is its enlarged sanctuary, which includes a lighted, stained-glass cross and new wood and brick walls. About 45 new seats have been added.
"It feels more intimate than it did before," Geer said.