Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church at Plantation Grows; Amelia Island: Chapel Being Expanded to Fit Community's Needs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Church at Plantation Grows; Amelia Island: Chapel Being Expanded to Fit Community's Needs

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

The parking lot is barricaded, the pews are covered and Sunday services have been relocated until further notice.

Amelia Plantation Chapel, an interdenominational church at the south end of Amelia Island, is expanding its sanctuary and building a two-story fellowship hall to accommodate a growing congregation.

Construction of the $2.5 million project began in late May, and is expected to continue until next summer. The sanctuary, however, is set to reopen in October.

"We've got to get back to the sanctuary because we've got weddings scheduled in October," church board President Bill Gower said.

In all, the church will grow from 7,000 to 8,500 square feet. The sanctuary will have 100 more seats, with two additional rows of pews in the back, a loft and a larger choir area. The new fellowship hall will be behind the sanctuary. In that new building, there will be additional meeting rooms and a music suite. The hall is designed to hold up to 250 people.

The parking lot also will be reconfigured to add about 15 parking spaces. A pedestrian bridge will be put across the lake behind the church so that church members can park in The Spas and Shops on Sunday mornings if necessary.

The chapel is one of many churches on Amelia Island experiencing growth. Many in Fernandina Beach have added services, some have built additions and others are planning to move to larger facilities.

"It's just the nature of the fact of growth on the island," said the Rev. Ted Schroder, pastor of Amelia Plantation Chapel. "If you're here to serve the community, you have to plan for that."

Schroder said church members wanted to keep one service, and chose to build a larger space to fit that.

"Facilities are meant to serve your mission. You build to facilitate what you're doing," he said. …

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