Work has begun on transforming Strean Presbyterian Church in West Street, Newtownards, into a more “modern and welcoming” gospel church for visitors.
The work — under the The Welcome Project moniker — follows intense consultation between various members of the congregation in order to update facilities at the church which have been neglected over the years.
Alex Steel, Strean’s congregational secretary, told The CT that discussions on the project began as far back as 2001.
“The objective of our discussions was to make the halls at the complex more welcoming and spacious as well as a lot more flexible for our many needs including complying with disability legislation,” Mr Steel said.
“At the front of the church we had little room for meetings and so this work will help alleviate that problem.”
Work will see the demolition of the minister’s room, new office facilities, a new welcome area for visitors, and the refurbishment of existing meeting rooms within the hall complex.
Mr Steel said the work has been a “long time coming” but hailed former minister of the congregation, Rev William Sinclair, as the main mover behind the project and the discussions which has led to the new development. The current minister is Rev Alan Carson. Work on the refurbishments are likely to last approximately 10 months.
Strean Presbyterian Church was first built in the 1860s and has a congregation of approximately 300.