Grove Church center under way

Published 10:31 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Portsmouth church is building a new facility to better serve its community.

Grove Church broke ground March 29 on a new family life center at 6006 Churchland Blvd., adjacent to the Portsmouth church on West Norfolk Road. The 23,388-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in the winter, according to construction project manager Stephen Williams.

Dr. Melvin O. Marriner, the pastor of Grove Church, said the new facility will meet the needs of the community with services for seniors and youth. These services will be open to everyone in the community, not just the more than 2,000 active church members attending weekly services in person or online.


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“This is not just a church building,” Marriner said. “It’s a community building.”

The facility will have a multipurpose gymnasium with a basketball court, a stage with an upgraded sound system, and a full-service commercial kitchen, according to Williams. Six classrooms and a conference room will be used by Marriner Christian Academy preschool students, capable of accommodating more than 50 children.

Eleven additional classrooms will be on the second floor, along with a fitness center and a study lounge.

The facility will also have an Internet café using the building’s Wi-Fi. Coffee will be enjoyed with spoken-word poetry, or while parents wait for their children to finish classes.

“It was sort of designed so they could enjoy a cup of coffee while they’re waiting for the children,” Williams said.

Four residential properties owned by the church will be demolished to add 47 parking spaces for both the church and the family center. Marriner said this was one of the challenges of growth, along with his plans to add more seating for church members.

“It has its pros, but you have to deal with the cons of parking and seating,” he said.

The church will host GED programs at its new facility and resume its Students Taking Responsibility in Valuing Education program. STRIVE is meant for young students in the community that are suspended or have been expelled and helps them keep up with their SOL studies.

“Our motto is ‘You cannot rise to low expectations,’” Marriner said. “We want to raise your level of expectation by equipping you and exposing you to something greater.”

He said the Portsmouth police department has committed to a program for mentoring kids, and late-night basketball will be held on Friday nights. These programs are meant to serve the community and not just church members.

“We’re looking to be whatever they need us to be in this area,” Marriner said. “We feel we can really make a difference.”