By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Pillsbury Road will be home to the town’s newest church.
Orchard Christian Fellowship broke ground for its new multi-purpose facility on Nov. 30 near the Morrison House historical museum.
Plans for the new 5,800-square-foot building include a 300-seat sanctuary and parking lot with space for 100 vehicles.
The first phase of the project is the main building, with additional plans for extra wings for Sunday school classroom space.
The plan was officially approved by the town in September.
The church is relatively new in town, only in existence since 2008, after it split from the existing Londonderry Presbyterian Church located adjacent to the new church property.
A group of parishioners wanted to start a new congregation as part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
A legal battle over the existing Presbyterian church building and a subsequent settlement awarded 15 acres of land to the Orchard Christian group for its new church plan.
Orchard Christian Fellowship is now undergoing a major capital campaign to raise money for the $1 million-plus project.
Orchard Christian Fellowship building committee member Doug Campbell told town planners his congregation wanted to be a viable part of the community, particularly preserving the spirit of the nearby apple orchards and land on Pillsbury Road.
“We’ll be good neighbors,” Campbell said. “We want to keep the apple spirit going. We have ‘orchard’ in our name so we want to keep that, too.”
The church meets every Sunday at Matthew Thornton Elementary School on Mammoth Road. Worship service and Kids’ Church begins at 9 a.m. and Sunday School for all ages follows at 10:30 a.m.
The church uses office space at the historic Robie House.
Campbell said the church has anywhere from 100 to 150 people coming to worship on a weekly basis.
To learn more about Orchard Christian Fellowship, visit orchardnh.org.