Church breaks ground on growth

GUILDERLAND — The St. Boniface Episcopal Church is growing, in square footage, and, Father Steven Scherck hopes, in membership.

Scherck has been the rector at the church, located at 5148 Western Ave., for five years, but said the need for the building’s improvements were apparent long before that.

The main driver for the project was the lack of accessibility to certain areas, particularly for people with mobility issues.

“We don’t have the ideal situation for people who have different mobility issues,” said Sherck.

He also said the project, which is being called “Building on Faith,” will aim to increase awareness of the church’s presence.

“People will often drive by the church and not realize that’s what it is,” said Sherck. “It was originally supposed to be the parish house.”

In an attempt to make it more recognizable as a church, a 30-foot steel cross, with illumination, will be erected.

“This will reach out to the community and let them know we’re here,” Sherck said.

He hopes the awareness will draw in more members; the current membership is approximately 150 congregants. The church started 61 years ago, meeting in Westmere’s firehouse.

The funding for the $200,000 project is coming exclusively from the members and the funding campaign is ongoing.

Groundbreaking on the first phase, which will include installing a lift in the front of the church, expanding the front of the church toward the road to make a bigger entryway, and installing the steel cross, will begin with a ceremony this Sunday, Aug. 17.

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ALTAMONT — It all started from a phone call.