Construction and carpet squares: St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church celebrates renovation

Before the renovation, the entrance to St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church was on the side, not the front, and there was no porch area. Trees blocked the view of the church.

Before the renovation, the entrance to St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church was on the side, not the front, and there was no porch area. Trees blocked the view of the church.

For just $1, congregants at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church could purchase a square of the old orange carpet that used to cover the sanctuary floor.

“People either hated the carpet or loved the carpet,” said Urb Molitor. He’s the head of the building committee for the church’s recent renovation. 

The congregation celebrated the completion of the renovation Sunday with an open house. They had food in the fellowship hall, a bounce house out back and music on the portico. Members mingled in the new narthex, admiring the extra space and new doors and windows.

The floor plan of the recently renovated St. Andrew's Lutheran Church.

The floor plan of the recently renovated St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church.

Amid the displays about outreach programs and Sunday school, Janet Neu sat selling carpet squares. Garrison Keillor himself couldn’t have written it better.

After the old carpet was torn up, Neu saw it in a pile and decided to take it home. It was the sort of thing people might be interested in having as a keepsake, or as a joke. It also made for a simple building fundraiser. Plain squares sold for $1. Framed squares, decorated with fabric, ribbon and an artificial flower, sold for $15.

It was a shame they didn’t have the fabric from the old chairs – they were orange, too. When the church was founded in 1959, that’s what was in style.

The old chairs were supposed to be burnt orange, but an order of bright orange came instead. The process of furnishing the church was weeks behind, so people decided to just keep them. At least, that’s the story Molitor’s heard, but it’s hard to say for sure.

The renovation project at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church included changing the inside of the sanctuary. It used to have orange carpet and bright orange chairs. It also has front doors now, instead of just a side one.

The renovation project at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church included changing the inside of the sanctuary. It used to have orange carpet and bright orange chairs. It also has front doors now, instead of just a side one.

Now, the sanctuary carpet is a blue-gray color, and the wooden chairs have blue upholstered cushions. The room is also more open. Before, it just had a side entrance. Now, congregants can enter through several front doors.

During some phases of the renovation, services had to be held in other areas of the building – adaptation was part of the construction process.  

“The things we were doing without made what we could do that much more exciting,” said Paul Moeller, senior pastor.

Congregation members mingle in the new narthex of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church at an open house celebrating the renovation. This section outside the sanctuary was added on to make the front of the church more open.

Congregation members mingle in the new narthex of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church at an open house celebrating the renovation. This section outside the sanctuary was added on to make the front of the church more open.

He said the changes not only helped modernize the church, but also addressed the needs of the congregation. By the time those needs were assessed and plans were made – all in the midst of a struggling economy – the planning process took about six years. There are still a few details to finish, but for the most part, the work is done.

The renovation includes a sprinkler system in the ceiling and a youth room double the size of the old one. The biggest change was the expansion of the front of the church. The congregation needed the extra space but also wanted something more open. “It’s so much more open,” Moessner said. 

This carpet used to be on the floor of the sanctuary. When congregation member Janet Neu saw that it was going to be thrown out, she decided to take it home and create a fundraiser out of it. At the open house celebrating the renovation, the church sold commemorative carpet squares, just for fun.

This carpet used to be on the floor of the sanctuary. When congregation member Janet Neu saw that it was going to be thrown out, she decided to take it home and create a fundraiser out of it. At the open house celebrating the renovation, the church sold commemorative carpet squares, just for fun.

Molitor said from the outside, it used to look like an office building – the front was just flat, and it was hard to see from the road because of the trees. “It looks like a church now,” he said.

And now that the orange carpet is gone, he and Neu suspect the church will be more appealing to brides-to-be. 

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About Kellie Moore

Kellie Moore (formerly Kotraba) served as the editor and community manager of Columbia Faith & Values through summer 2014. Although she is originally from the West – Nevada and California – she’s now proud to call Missouri home. She currently teaches English at Fr. Tolton High School.

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