Noroton church celebrates new beginning
Published 9:53 pm, Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Parishioners entered Noroton Presbyterian Church Tuesday morning through a new entrance to attend bible study in a large, well-furnished parlor as young children ran under a new skylight in the Skylight Fellowship Lobby and meeting hall.
Looking on, Associate Pastor Brandi Drake said the much expanded space and overall renovation split over two levels of the church on the Post Road is already encouraging parishioners to spend more time there.
“We see it with people who come in who stay longer and talk,” Drake said. “The great thing is this will help us be together more.”
The expanded footprint of the church at the Post Road and Noroton Avenue was rededicated last week after three years of construction work and rehabilitation. The project added the meeting hall and added thousands of square feet of new space split over two levels, including offices, meeting rooms, a fine arts center and gym as well as other changes, said Veronica Muller, a parishioner and spokeswoman for the church.
Keys were presented to the congregation by Architect Dennis Kowal and General Contractor Gus Papajohn, and the ribbon cutting was performed by the oldest member of the church, Maude Pettis, 101, and one of the congregation’s children, Anna Keehlwetter.
The changes were less sweeping in the sanctuary, with the addition of a new grand piano and energy efficient windows. Sections of the lower level, including a large meeting hall, remained virtually unchanged and will still provide space for services and programs.
Muller said a major benefit of the additional 11,000 square feet of space will be a greater connection to the community with pastor offices directly adjacent to the new main entrance off the parking lot.
“It was functional and probably worked great in the 1950s and 1960s,” Muller said. “People will come in and immediately see these offices.”
The renovation also enhances safety for the Noroton Presbyterian pre-school, adding secure entries to Noroton Presbyterian’s nursery school and increased space on a relocated playground in a more secure spot.
To celebrate the rededication and opening of the church and grounds the congregation will hold “Fifty Days of Community Events,” including a Skylight Chamber Music Concert,” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 17, a trick-or-treating event in their parking lot called “Trunk or Treat,” on Oct. 30, and a couple’s date night.
Visitors are welcome to tour the renovations Monday through Friday, 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Senior Pastor Schreiner said the new building and space reflects a renewal of the church’s commitment to its congregation and wider community.
“We were blessed to have faithful members build our church in the 1950s and it served us well through the 20th century,” he said. “Now we are pleased to perform this extensive renovation to serve the church and community well into the 21st century.”
Noroton Presbyterian Church is at 2011 Post Road, Darien, 06820. Visit the website for more details on upcoming events and to register: www.norotonchurch.org.