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Church Grows to Embrace Community

Westport's 147 year old Christ & Holy Trinity Church breaks ground on Sunday for its new, 3,000 square foot "Great Hall" addition, to be completed summer,  2011. It is the church's first addition in 50 years. "Among many things," Rev. John Branson, Christ & Holy Trinity's Rector says, "it will give us an opportunity to be more serious and intentional about our Christian education program." The increased space also will allow  more community groups to hold meetings at the church. "It has been our intention to make the church more available to outside groups, which is part of the ministry of the Christ & Holy Trinity," Branson says. Currently, 35 community groups regularly use church space, including six AA meetings, the Boy Scouts, Seeing Eye Dog training. More groups request space as needed. The new building's expanded space is expected to boost the number of potential user groups to 100. Complementing the church's gothic style, the new, two-story building, will feature vaulted ceilings with exposed wooden beams and balconies. It will also house five new classrooms and a music room.

With the expansion, the church property will be reconfigured, with the enlarged Great Hall building pushing out to take over the current Church Lane playground.  The renovation plans call for the playground to move to the far side of the school building. Parking and car access shift to the rear of the church. A covered entryway to the parish hall will also be added. "This is going to make it much safer for our pre-K  program and for all parishioners," Branson says. A $4.7 million “New  Foundations of Faith” capital campaign, begun in 2005, is also underwriting a remodeling of existing facilities, including classrooms, the kitchen and the site's new landscape design, which includes a cloister area for contemplation as well as receptions and social  gatherings.

Christ & Holy Trinity counts 350 families in its congregation. The existing church, at the intersection of Church Lane  and Myrtle Avenue, was built in 1863, as the Episcopal Memorial Church of the Holy Trinity. In 1944, its congregation merged with Christ Church Episcopal, which had been located at Ludlow and the Post Road.

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