Sanctuary Refresh Proposal

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For more information, contact Larry Van Veldhuizen at


We as a Bethel congregation are looking forward to celebrating our 100th Anniversary in 2022. As we prepare for a new century of ministry, Bethel’s council is presenting the congregation with this proposal to refresh our worship space. 

We would seek to stewardly accomplish four main goals:
1) Replacing and updating worn elements in our existing sanctuary;
2) Upgrading our sound and livestream technology;
3) Improving our hospitality functionality; and
4) Increasing the flexibility of our existing worship space (including functionally doubling the size of our fellowship hall by allowing the sanctuary to serve dual-purpose).
Why are we looking at a Sanctuary Refresh now?
Bethel’s sanctuary was built in 1966 and is 55 years old. While we have built a new discipleship wing (2012) and Lighthouse (2017), our sanctuary has remained largely untouched for over half a century. Our pews and front aesthetic are not just dated but badly worn.
Recognizing the need, Bethel Council formed a Sanctuary Refresh Committee in November of 2019. After considering options ranging from the construction of a new sanctuary (not feasible at this time), to structural modification of our present space (not architecturally possible because of Bethel’s location and roofline), the committee is recommending a modest refresh and upgrade of our current space.
What specifically is included in the proposed refresh?
  • Upgrading the sound booth and equipment
  • Upgrading lighting throughout the sanctuary
  • New carpet on main sanctuary floor
  • Coffee bar in the corridor between nursery and council room
  • Refresh paint throughout sanctuary
  • New woodwork around organ
  • Replacing brown fabric in front of church with drywall and fresh paint
  • Replacing pews with chairs
Estimated Project Cost: $228,700
Proposed timeline:
The congregation will vote on this proposed refresh at the Congregational Meeting on Nov. 8. Council has set a minimum 60% approval vote for the project to move forward.
We will collect gifts and pledges this winter and spring and we hope to begin construction in May and be done by the end of June 2022. We are hopeful that we can complete the project in 4-6 weeks.
By seeking approval in November, we are hoping to avoid further price increases and secure materials and contractor bids and commitments to ensure an efficient project next summer.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Where are we going to worship during the refresh?
A: We have options for the 4-6 weeks we will be out of our sanctuary. The BJ Haan would be our first option with outdoor services and the Terrace View as secondary options. For evening services, we are exploring the option of joining with other churches for combined services the duration of the renovations.
Q: What impact will the refresh have on our seating capacity?
A: We estimate that our current sanctuary capacity is 600. After the remodel we anticipate that it will be 600-650.
Q: What will drywall and carpeting do to the acoustics of our worship space?
A: While we could hear a change in sound, after consulting an acoustics expert as well as an organ expert, both had concurring opinions that the drywall and carpet would not impede the sound in the sanctuary. 
Q: Why not just build a new sanctuary?
A: The committee looked into this and determined the cost would be an estimated $5 million-$6 million. Our hope is that if in the future Bethel decides to build a new sanctuary, much of this current investment (in technology and chairs) could be repurposed in any new construction.
Q: Why update the sound booth and equipment?
A: While the sanctuary is full again on Sunday services, we still consistently have high volumes of people livestreaming services (averaging over 230 devices across all platforms in the morning, and 150 in the evenings). This includes shut-ins as well as guests from nearby and far away.
Our current technology was last updated in 2010. Technology is ever changing and with more people utilizing our online services, it has become apparent that our sound and livestream capabilities and quality are limited and outdated. Among the upgrades will be crisper cameras which will increase functionality and quality.

Those who run sound and video in the sound booth have very limited space which has increasingly made smooth operations difficult.

Q: Why a coffee bar?
A: A modest coffee bar offers further opportunities for congregational fellowship and increases our hospitality to visitors as well as all coffee and tea enthusiasts. Rather than wheeling the cart every week, this would offer a permanent space to access tea or coffee, which helps our weekly volunteers in set-up and service.
Q: Why chairs rather than pews?
A: Address Wear and Tear: Our current benches are beyond cost-effective repair. Many are cracked, the upholstery is badly worn and some with irreparable rips. They need replacement.
  • Maximize Flexibility: Chairs offer more flexibility in the stewardly use of our existing space. We would be able to convert our sanctuary into an overflow fellowship hall for potlucks, doubling our seating capacity without building additional floor space. Chairs offer more potential for Bethel to be able to host and configure our space for classis meetings, workshops, conferences, and VBS. They also offer flexibility to configure the space to serve high volume of funeral visitations and give more options for weddings.
  • Increase Safety:  Our new rows of chairs will be spaced to fire code, increasing safety and ease in entering and exiting. Chairs could also offer medical first responders better access if someone has a medical emergency in a pew.
  • Improve Maintenance: The benches make maintenance on the ceiling (replacing light bulbs and adjustments to technological equipment) extremely difficult because of the difficulty of using a ladder or lifts with our current benches.
  • Ease Cleaning: chairs will allow for easier floor cleaning.