St. Mary’s COGIC expansion begins

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 17, 2005

St. Mary’s Church of God and Christ is opening its arms to neighbors in the Nansemond Parkway community.

The church, at 3637 Nansemond Parkway, is about to spend $400,000 constructing a 9,000-square-foot Family Life Center. The two-story addition will include a full-sized gymnasium, a game room and several upstairs classrooms.

&uot;There are just a few nuts and bolts remaining to work out before we get started,&uot; said the Rev. Dwight Nixon, the church’s pastor. &uot;We’re just about ready to break ground.&uot;


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Two weeks ago, contractors delivered the steel beams that eventually will become the skeleton of the building.

Use of the facility will not be restricted to church members, Nixon said.

&uot;We are trying to be a community-driven church,&uot; he said. &uot;There are a lot of people in this immediate area who need someplace to go for exercise or to spend time with their families.&uot;

Nixon sees the expansion as a way of meeting the surrounding community’s needs, while possibly growing the church’s 150-member congregation.

With the additional space, St. Mary’s plans to double the size of Kiddie Kingdom, its daycare program, to accommodate up to 30 children, Nixon said. Also, the church is hoping to start a private church school for grades one through six.

Nixon envisions the church using the classroom space at night to offer adult fitness classes, such as aerobics or modern dance, and community training programs.

The church is now applying for grants to get computers for the Family Life Center, he added.

Eventually, Nixon hopes the church will build a community pool on its six acres.

St. Mary’s and facilities with similar offerings play much-needed roles in today’s chaotic society, he said.

&uot;When you have a lot of opportunities available for the entire family to spend time together, the family unit becomes stronger,&uot; he said.