Village's first church to build new house of worship

By Dave Hudgens

-- Community Church to expand, big time. The folks at the Tellico Village Community Church - the first church in the Village - have voted to spend $8.8 million to build a new 820-seat sanctuary. They hope to be in their new home by Christmas of 2010.

The vote was 376 for, 290 against and two abstentions.

The nondenominational church was founded in 1988 with the first serves held at the home of the late Art Spurrier.

The Rev. Carl Burke, retired but still living in the Village, was its first pastor. The current sanctuary was completed in 1994, and the adjoining 17,000 square-foot Christian Life Center - much used for community events - was completed in 1999.

Today, with 1,400 members, the church's three weekly services have become overcrowded, said the Rev. Martin Singley.

He said that the expansion is "about more than giving ourselves additional room. It's about being able to welcome more people into our church family and extending our ministry to the larger community."

Groundbreaking for the new building is slated for later this year. It will also include an expanded chancel area, a new choir rehearsal room, larger fellowship area and additional parking. A second phase of the project will remodel the existing sanctuary into a 200-seat chapel and build new administrative offices.

Community Church members are extremely active in the broader community in a variety of charitable organizations. Some 250 of its members helped build a Habitat for Humanity house, which also was completely funded by church members.