SCC breaks ground for expansion
As Sanibel Community Church’s own Pastor Daryl Donovan put it, “Now is the time to extend God’s hand and His heart.”
On Tuesday afternoon, more than 125 island parishioners, local leaders and invited guests gathered at the Periwinkle Way house of worship to break ground on a new 600-seat sanctuary, bookstore, media room, cafe, garage and administrative offices.
When complete, the new sanctuary will occupy about 10,899 square feet of the campus and the administration building will be approximately 3,165 square feet.
Pastor Donovan introduced several key members of the church family who were instrumental in the development of the expansion project, which originally began four years ago. The group included Tim O’Neill, Ray Pavelka, Art Seidel, Dave Kelby, Shelton Gwaltney, Laura Miltner, John DeMaster and Art Schuller.
“(The historic sanctuary) will be restored to its original look on the inside,” explained Gwaltney, director of administration at the church. He also explained that the “wings” containing overflow seating will be closed off and made into classrooms.
“The original wood on the walls has been saved and will be used in the remodeling,” Gwaltney added.
The historic sanctuary, which seats 450 parishioners, will continue to be used for the 8 a.m. traditional service on Sundays as well as for weddings, memorial services and other community events.
Also in attendance were Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, City Councilman Jim Jennings, City Manager Judie Zimomra and Bat-Yam Temple of the Islands’ Herbert Clark.
“Obviously for Sanibel, you’re a part of this community… a community within a community,” Ruane said in his opening remarks. “I wish everybody well and look forward to this expansion.”
Pastor Barb Nave followed with a prayer and call to worship.
“I’ve been waiting a very long time for this,” she said, adding with a smile, “and I’ll be waiting even longer until the keys to the front door are in my hand.”
SCC’s Contemporary Praise team leader Brad Livermon led the gathered crowd in the singing of “How Great Is Our God” and “How Great Thou Art” while the Chancel Choir – under the direction of Hannah Czoski – offered the anthem “Surely The Presence.” Kathy Cramer followed with a scripture reading.
Using shovels fashioned with a symbolic cross on them, Donovan then counted down “3… 2… 1!” as a dozen members of the church’s flock turned over dirt where the new sanctuary will be located.
In addition to the expansion plans, Benchmark General Contractors will also remodel existing buildings – originally constructed in 1917 – and design a new stormwater drainage and retention system for the church. The parking lot and courtyard will be redesigned, providing a total of 256 parking spaces on site.
“This is very exciting,” added Gwaltney. “We are very much in need of more room.”
(Sanibel-Captiva Islander editor Shannen Hayes contributed to this report.)