By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Construction is well underway on the town’s newest church.
Orchard Christian Fellowship’s new multi-purpose facility is taking shape on Pillsbury Road, its white steeple now reaching upward from the rural landscape.
“We are really excited,” Orchard member and business manager Lee Carvill said. “We’re only 75 days out. July 1 is our (target) completion date.”
Carvill also serves on the church building committee.
Ground was broken in November for the 5,800-square-foot building that will offer a brand new worship space for the growing congregation, now at about 325 members.
The plans include a 300-seat sanctuary and parking lot with space for 100 vehicles. The first phase of the project is the main building.
The Rev. Ken Glasier said Phase II will include wings for Sunday school classroom and office space. He said the church’s simple white design fits in nicely with the surrounding rural look of that part of town. The church is working with Northpoint Construction of Hudson on the plan.
“It really resembles an old church,” Glasier said. “It’s all coming together nicely.”
The church, known as “The Orchard,” is relatively new in town. It has only been 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.
Orchard Christian Fellowship is now undergoing a major capital campaign to raise money for the almost $1 million project.
Glasier has served Orchard Christian for almost five years. He said people have been very generous, with about 60 percent of the amount pledged at the halfway point for the capital campaign.
He said The Orchard is a special place to worship and everyone pitched in to make the new church happen — a true testament to the congregation’s faith and level of commitment.
Carvill said everyone is very anxious to use the new space. Once temperatures moderate, more work can be completed around the exterior of the building.
“It will look so much better after (all the rocks and dirt) are gone with landscaping and added trees,” he said.
Until the new church is ready, Orchard parishioners worship every Sunday at Matthew Thornton Elementary School on Mammoth Road. Worship service and Kids’ Church begin at 9 a.m. and Sunday School for all ages follows at 10:30 a.m.
To learn more about Orchard Christian Fellowship and to follow its progress, visit orchardnh.org. Construction updates are also posted on the church’s Facebook page.