POY SIPPI — Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish is entering into its centennial year with a new parish hall — a first for the church. The dedication ceremony on Oct. 6 included special prayers, a blessing, readings and music. Following Mass, churchgoers gathered in the new space for a celebratory luncheon.
The first Mass in Poy Sippi was celebrated Oct. 23, 1920, and for decades its meetings and funeral lunches have been held up the hill using the First Lutheran Church facilities. “Before, when we had any kind of gathering or fellowship, we’d set up tables between the pews and altar and sit in the pews with a plate,” said Karen Kelly, a 14-year parishioner and parish secretary/trustee.
The 1,200-square-foot addition includes a fellowship space that seats 70, warmer kitchen (no stove, but plenty of outlets), and two handicap-accessible restrooms.
Kelly coordinated the hall project, which began with initial planning and hand sketches in early 2016. The Parish Hall Ministry Team, chaired by Kelly, conducted a survey of parishioners to see if the small parish would have the support needed to move forward. The survey showed 93% approval for a new hall. The $240,000-project was paid for through the church’s investment fund, donations and a loan. Fundraising began in April 2017, groundbreaking was in September 2018, and the building was complete in August 2019.
The space will be used for parishioners’ family gatherings, weddings, baby showers, receptions and dinners, religious education programs, youth ministry and meetings.
“The interior and exterior blending of the new building with the other is perfect. Function and beauty are the two key ingredients for anything like this, and it’s way beyond what I was praying for,” said Deacon Bob Precourt, pastoral leader at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish and St. Mark Parish in Redgranite.
He added that the new parish hall is an outgrowth “of the faith of the people of 1920 and all those who followed. And that growth, in prayer, is going to continue into the future.”