LAKE WYLIE — Within two months, Fr. Edward McDevitt should know how committed his congregation is to the largest addition since All Saints Catholic Church opened its doors seven years ago.
Church leaders last month announced the plan to build a new parish life center. Parishioners will need to raise at least $1.2 million, but they’re being challenged to pledge $1.8 million to build the new center debt-free. A kick-off event will be held Sept. 29 with a call for pledges coming Nov. 16-17.
“Every church says its growing, even the ones that are about to close up and bar the windows,” McDevitt said. “But we are growing, and the proof is that we’re building.”
Planning began about a year ago. More families, with more children, began filling Sunday morning education space to the point where Wednesday night classes were added. The fellowship area has grown too small to accommodate club and social events.
“We came to realize that we had to expand,” McDevitt said.
The new center will be two stories. It won’t add worship space, but will connect to the current building. It will add a 3,500-square-foot multipurpose room on the first floor with three office rooms, a kitchen and two future classrooms. The upstairs adds another 6,500 square feet with eight classrooms and room for two more in the future.
One likely beneficiary of the new space is John Kummer. He leads Bible study programs and says he believes parishioners will pledge because they see how space limits them.
“It means more space,” he said. “It means more events on the weekends where we can hold them together, and we won’t have to spread them out.”
Currently a large dinner or event means breaking down seating in the worship area. With the new addition, it won’t. Kummer said the addition has always been in planning and is a natural part of church growth.
“Every new church, you have to grow into that,” he said. “And with a new building, when you build it, they come.”
Susan Noel is secretary of the parish and the building campaign. She said many new, young families are coming, but so, too, are retiring parishioners from churches in the North. The congregation size has tripled in the past seven years.
“We have really outgrown what we have already built,” Noel said.
Where the church now worships actually is a multipurpose building. Traditionally, the next step for a church like All Saints would be to construct a true sanctuary after the parish life center. Noel said an “unfortunate” aspect of the church is there now are people who like it so much, they may not want a new sanctuary.
“What we have now is just temporary,” Noel said.
The current building was dedicated in 2006, but Catholicism has a much deeper history in the area. The church assigned priests to York County about 80 years ago and in-home Lenten Masses were held in what’s now Lake Wylie in the ’60s and ’70s. The first public Mass was held in 1979.
Lake Wylie Catholic Community became its own parish in 1983 and became All Saints Catholic Mission in 1994, the same year a building committee was established. The church purchased more than eight acres where it now sits in 1998.
Pledges made during the coming campaign will be collected during the next three years. Once secured, the church may begin planning for the full sanctuary project.