Light fills every corner of the Lemon Grove Community Church’s new chapel. It bounces off stone and marble. It warms patios and terraces. It illuminates the sanctuary’s floor-to-ceiling stained-glass walls in brilliant detail.
It enriches the soul.
“We consider ourselves to be the city’s church,” Dr. George W. Linzey says of the interdenomination Protestant congregation that welcomes the entire community. The pastor has overseen the yearlong construction project at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue, which brings the congregation home seven years after its trustees sold the church on Glebe Street.
The new church, built at a cost of $4.1 million, including the land, sits adjacent to Civic Center Park and the Parsonage Museum—the congregation’s original church.
The new 8,600-square-foot building, dubbed “The Lagoon,” was funded with proceeds from the 2005 sale of the Glebe Street facility, and an $800,000 endowment left to the church by member Olivia Easton, who died that year at age 90.
The 55-seat sanctuary looks out onto a “Garden of Eden,” Linzey says, which will soon include a baptismal pond. Beginning Nov. 4, a second service will be added to accommodate more worshippers.
Expected to be completed in the next week, the chapel is a celebration of firsts. It’s the first church architect Mike Merrill, whose expertise is commercial buildings and malls, has designed. And for Michael Tam, in charge of artistic design, it’s the first time he’s created stained glass.
The church features a Fratelli Ruffatti pipe organ and, soon, a Bosendorfer piano. A weekly artists' series, designed to be a mini retreat at the Wednesday lunch hour for the community, is in the works, Linzey says. A simple soup lunch will be served along with 30 minutes of sacred music.
The church will celebrate its opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Nov. 4. All are welcome. Lunch will be provided.