Bethel Pentecostal Church and Its Spiritual Reawakening
A praiseworthy offering for worshippers old and new
Once upon a time, there was a little church that could. It knew that it could grow its congregation, as well as provide better accessibility to its many offerings. And so the little church, Bethel Pentecostal, in Tillsonburg, Ontario, town of 16,000, through a capital campaign, decided to breathe life into its already thriving congregation with an inspirational new home.
As a community of faith, Bethel Pentecostal wanted to honor both its history and the current involvement of its congregation in building its new church. Many community meetings were held to understand the needs of the new church. And in 2015, Bethel Pentecostal joined with Grassmere Construction Ltd., a Butler Builder,® to begin planning its new home.
Initially, Bethel Pentecostal owned a piece of property adjacent to its current site, which was where the proposed church was supposed to dwell. Another developer planned to build adjacent to Bethel Pentecostal, when it discovered its property had a natural watercourse running diagonally through it, making the land less desirable for housing development. The church, which could be positioned on the property in an aesthetically pleasing manner, offered to switch properties with the housing developer, making it a win-win for both landowners.
Grassmere Construction, also in Tillsonburg, knew that Bethel Pentecostal, to best serve its parishioners, wanted more accessibility for the elderly and disabled. They also needed to ensure the new church had state-of-the-art technology, to make it more inviting for younger worshippers and add multipurpose rooms for numerous community offerings.
With the needs of Lead Pastor Brent Shepherd and the Bethel Pentecostal congregation understood, it became apparent that longevity needed to be a forethought instead of an afterthought.
“People come and go, families change and grow, and as that happens there needs to be a flexibility that allows for the church to be able to respond both culturally and demographically,” Shepherd said. “I think our new design does that.”
This meant focusing on larger multipurpose rooms, various space configurations and incorporating state-of-the-art technology. Many evangelical churches have moved away from traditional songbooks toward a visual “book” with words on a screen.
“It was very important to us that our new building last for many generations, which is why we chose a Butler metal structure.” BRENT SHEPHERD, BETHEL PENTECOSTAL
“Audiovisual is an important part of our service and helps to keep everyone focused in the same direction,” Shepherd said. “Additionally, we offer a lot of other types of audiovisual programs, beyond our services.”
An eye on the past with a focus on the future
“It was very important to us that our new building last for many generations, which is why we chose a Butler metal structure,” Shepherd said. “By constructing a lower maintenance building, we wouldn’t financially overburden our future congregation. With lower costs, they wouldn’t need to be concerned about raising funds for capital improvements in 10 years.”
Initially, Grassmere proposed a partial Butler solution, but as the design evolved, a total Butler solution was constructed.
“The new church was fairly complex from a geometrical perspective,” said Herman Sinke, Grassmere business development manager.
It would consist of six interconnected units and a combination of Thermawall™, TextureWall™ and Shadowall™ wall systems, giving Bethel Pentecostal both a cost-effective and timesaving solution.
“The Widespan structural system let us create a visually appealing space without having a large budgetary impact,” Sinke added. “In addition, this complete Butler building enabled us to continue with construction during the winter months without incurring costs for winter heat and protection.”
“Our new light-filled foyer lets people gather and sets a real welcoming tone.” BRENT SHEPHERD, BETHEL PENTECOSTAL
Grassmere also could self-perform the work and control the schedule by working in conjunction with its sister company, KDM Erectors of Woodstock, Ontario.
Praise for the new space
The church’s multipurpose spaces would allow various groups of people to use them, as well as house the many programs the church offers for children.
The church also gained a foyer. “Our old church didn’t have a foyer; you went upstairs or you went downstairs,” Shepherd said. “Our new light-filled foyer lets people gather and sets a real welcoming tone. A very friendly, welcoming church really suits us well — and is the heart and core of what our church is about.”
Unique to the church is the appearance of its sanctuary. Shepherd noted that although there’s a lot of natural light in the foyer, they didn’t want any natural light in the sanctuary because contemporary services are very audiovisual driven, so the ceiling and stage area is black. Grassmere used black fabric- faced insulation, since the church’s ceilings are exposed, which also eliminated the need to paint.
When Bethel Pentecostal sought a new, more contemporary worship facility, Grassmere Construction Ltd. knew of the perfect design — one they had recently seen in Building Profit® magazine. The Canadian construction firm reached out to their fellow Butler Builder,® Kinghorn Construction, for more information on the Riverwood Covenant Church project the Minnesotans had recently completed and had written up in the publication. Kinghorn’s work and the magazine story were the perfect inspiration for the Bethel Pentecostal design team as they solidified the plans for their new church.
“We want our congregation to be the focal point, not the sanctuary itself,” added Shepherd.
“The Widespan structural system let us create a visually appealing space without having a large budgetary impact.” HERMAN SINKE, GRASSMERE CONSTRUCTION
A legacy to share
Building a church that accommodates a range of people, such as those with physical disabilities or limitations, and those who are aging — while welcoming a new generation of worshippers — was paramount to creating a building that would last for many generations.
“It has helped our church grow in many ways,” Shepherd said. “We’ve dropped the barriers of parking and accessibility — we don’t have stairs — which has definitely helped grow our congregation. Physical barriers are one thing, but there are also cultural barriers. We want to be a welcoming building for those who recognize that faith is an important part of life and who want to engage on a deeper level, and now we have a legacy we can share with future generations.”