SEA ISLE CITY — St. Joseph Parish here is launching a capital campaign, titled Connecting in Faith, to raise funds for the construction of a new worship space. Church and community leaders feel that a need for a larger facility has been apparent for years — especially during the busy summer months — and now the seaside parish is moving ahead with plans to build a larger house of worship on Landis Avenue.
The new church will be built next to the existing church, which was constructed in 1884 and will remain in place.
Architectural designs for the planned structure, which were created by KCBA Architects of Hatfield, Pa., depict an exterior facade that fully compliments the parish’s existing Victorian-era church, which has served not only as a landmark for the town but also as the epicenter of many community activities for over a century.
Additionally, the new facility will have amenities that the existing 19th century church now lacks, including improved access for those with disabilities, an elevator, more efficient heating and cooling systems, expanded restroom facilities and updated lighting. There will also be a “connecting link,” which will physically join the old and new churches together with an indoor passageway.
Most importantly, the new church will have additional seating for the many faithful Christians who worship in Sea Isle City throughout the year. The new facility will comfortably accommodate up to 1,300 people, far exceeding the old church’s seating capacity of approximately 225.
Sea Isle’s ever-increasing year-round and seasonal populations, which have been growing for decades, have brought more and more Catholics to town, which, in turn, has made the phrase “standing room only” commonplace at Sunday Masses.
Since a larger facility will permit fewer priests to celebrate with a greater number of people at each Mass, diocesan and parish leaders have decided that building a new facility is the best way to meet the needs of all those who seek spiritual refuge at St .Joseph Church.
The parish has hired Walsh and Associates, of Burnsville, Minn., church fund-raising and stewardship specialists. With Walsh’s help, the parish’s initial capital campaign, which officially kicks-off this summer, will seek to raise a minimum of $2.25 million toward the project’s final goal of $7.2 million.
Ground-breaking ceremonies are slated to take place during the spring of 2010 and construction of the new church is expected to be completed by the summer of 2011.
To support the efforts of this capital campaign, Father Joseph Perreault, pastor, has assembled a cabinet of parishioners. The cabinet consists of two Gift Committees, chaired collectively by Philip Gruccio, Jack Gibson, Ann Mooney and Mike McHale; a Creative Giving Committee, chaired by Tom Henry; a Communications Committee, chaired by Jackie Meiluta and Kathy Custer; a Prayer Committee, chaired by Betty Pearce; and a Hospitality Committee, chaired by Kathy Walters and Vera McQuillen. Additionally, further assistance will be rendered by Kathy Macauley, the campaign’s secretary.
Parishioners, visitors and interested parties are invited to view the new church’s architectural designs either in person in the parish auditorium, 44th and Central Ave., or by visiting the parish website, www.stjosephsic.org.
For additional information about St. Joseph Church’s capital campaign or to learn more about the plans for the new church, phone 609-263-8696.