SCARBOROUGH — At a time when many churches are facing declining numbers and some are even closing, a local evangelical Christian church is nearly tripling its footprint.
The Rock Church of Greater Portland, at 66 Gorham Road, is expanding from 7,000 to 20,000 square feet. Construction on the $4 million-plus project is expected to begin this fall.
Plans include a 600-seat auditorium with elevated seating, up from about 250 seats, a large gathering space and room for a cafe. The project will also add two more classrooms, for a total of 10, additional office space and larger bathrooms.
Associate Pastor Stephen Prescott said the auditorium space will not only be for worship, but will provide a venue for concerts, speakers and conferences.
The church began in Portland in 1998 as a Bible study group in Pastor Kirk Winter’s home, with six adults and eight children. It held services in a few hotels in Portland and South Portland, as well as a warehouse in Westbrook, before moving to Scarborough on U.S. Route 1, then to South Portland, and eventually back to Scarborough in July 2011.
Kirk opened a second church in Bangor in 2005, and eventually a third in Orono.
Today the senior pastor in Scarborough is Eric Samuelson, who said weekly attendance is around 950 people.
“This is more than a building. This is about the church accomplishing its mission,” Prescott said. “God has used The Rock Church to reach people.”
The expansion will also give the church more parking, as some people now park on the road.
During construction, all services and activities will continue as planned. A wall separating the new construction from the existing church will be removed at the final stage.
Associate Pastor Stephen Prescott of The Rock Church of Greater Portland, 66 Gorham Road, Scarborough. The building will almost triple in size from 7,000 to 20,000 square feet after an expansion that will add about 350 seats to the auditorium.
The Rock Church of Greater Portland, at 66 Gorham Road in Scarborough, will be almost tripling the size of its building from 7,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet during a construction project planned for the fall.