Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Westport prides itself on serving the whole communitynot just its congregants. That's why the addition of a 3,000-square-foot space known as the Great Hall is important, said the Rev. John Branson, rector of the church.
"Part of the ministry of a church, certainly this one, is to extend hospitality to the wider community," said Branson, who has been at the church for 21 years. "A lot of different groupsover 40 from townuse our facilities for their own gatherings and meetings. Now, more groups will be able to take advantage of that opportunity."
Not only do Westport community organizations such as Boy Scouts, Alcoholics Anonymous and Safe Rides use the church as a meeting place, but organizations from surrounding towns are also welcome to and do use it, Branson said.
Designed by Deirdre O'Farrelly Architects and Antinozzi Associates, the addition includes the multiuse hall itself, which can accommodate 300 people standing and 200 seating. It also has five new classroom/meeting rooms, a music room and a cloistered courtyard. The new space was built onto the church's existing meeting house, which includes a kitchen, nursery and several classroomsall of which were renovated during construction of the Great Hall.
Although the $4.7 million Great Hall was built in part to allow the church to better serve the community, Branson said it also serves the needs of the church and its growing congregation.
"We very definitely needed more space for our own ministries and programs," he said, noting that the facility will also serve five children's and adult choirs, preschool, Christian education and youth programs, Bible study, prayer groups, the music and arts program, outreach program and health ministry.
Construction on the project, which included a reconfiguration of the church's parking lot, began last June and is set to be unveiled Sunday. For Branson, this addition signifies the start of a new chapter for the 176-year-old church.
"The Great Hall symbolizes exciting possibilities for the future," he said. "We look forward to adding new programs and strengthening our existing ministries."
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