Wed08272014

Spiritual Life

Foothill Covenant increases visibility with facilities renovation


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Pastor Hans-Erik Nelson opens the new handcrafted wood doors, accented by stained glass panels, to welcome all to Foothill Covenant Church. Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier

When Pastor Hans-Erik Nelson first came to Foothill Covenant Church in fall 2011, one of his first meetings dealt with growing the congregation. It seemed part of the problem was the appearance of the Los Altos church’s facilities and grounds.

A parishioner at that meeting commented, “No one even knows the church is here. They can’t see it.”

“It doesn’t look like a church behind all the bushes and fences,” said another.

So Nelson and the other church leaders are doing something about it. Utilizing a $200,000 reserve fund, the church is in the middle of an extensive facilities and grounds renovation to increase visibility – both literally and figuratively.

A big part of the plan was addressing the unintentional camouflage of the 50-year-old site, brought on by overgrown trees and facilities than had weathered and darkened with age.

The trees along Oak Avenue, planted for shade, had grown and spread until they obscured much of the view of the Church grounds for passersby whether walking or driving. The weathered wooden fence that protected the children’s playground resembles a dreary cage rather than a cheerful play area.

The buildings at the corner, originally the parsonage, now a residence for returning missionaries, blended into the neighborhood but hid the heart of the property - the church itself is set back on the site.

These issues are changing for the better, thanks to the work of a facility upgrade team led by Bob Matthews and Stan Ecklund. The key objective was to “let the sunshine in,” they said, to communicate their open and welcoming community.

The rejuvenation efforts are already clearly visible. If you are walking or driving by Foothill Covenant along Oak, look past the “Pardon Our Dust!” notice and you will see obvious improvements.

The Ladies Lounge better accommodates young families with comfortable chairs for relaxation and privacy for mothers who are breast-feeding. A matching changing-table makes necessary diaper changes easy on the back. The Sunday School area is bright and colorful, filled with toys and activities.

Nelson and his united parish invite the community to view the transformation as it takes place and to step in and enjoy the new ambiance. Sunday service is at 10:30 a.m.

Foothill Covenant Church is located at 1555 Oak Ave. For more information, visit foothillcov.org.

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