With record attendance three years in a row, Church of the Living Waters this winter started an expansion project that will add 100 seats under the A-frame canopy, said Buck Stevens, chairman of the board of trustees for the outdoor church located inside the StillWaters gates.
“We’ve had such large crowds on Sundays – especially on holiday weekends. We’ve been in excess of 300 for services, and people have been sitting in the arbor and in the back. We’ve been using a hundred folding chairs consistently,” Stevens said.
The addition will bring seating capacity at the chapel to 400, including the open air overflow space.
Easter services for the last three years have been more than 400, Stevens said, and the number of weddings at the church also has increased. With the demonstration of steady growth and the recurring need for additional space, the trustees decided to find a solution to accommodate continued growth.
The construction began in December and is expected to be complete this month. The project will add 16 feet of roofline to the existing structure. A new metal roof will be installed across the entire chapel frame, and the stage area will be extended 5 feet on the sides and replaced with composite board.
In addition, the seawall and boardwalk have been repaired, and new decking and bumpers have been installed to accommodate more visitors arriving to services by boat. The sound system also will be updated with speakers, amps and wireless microphones.
“At first, we thought about going toward the lake with the construction, but there are a couple of trees that would have had to come out, and that would have killed the view. You can see those trees from any seat in the church, so we elected to come back away from the lake instead,” Stevens said.
The entrance to the church will be reworked, improving the area for placement of the beloved church rock, and the path to the church will be widened slightly, he added.