Bowie church to rehab historic building for community meeting space -- Gazette.Net



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A Bowie church is working to resurrect a roughly 190-year-old historic structure on its grounds.

The Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 13106 Annapolis Road launched a series of fundraisers this month as the congregation looks at ways to raise as much as $370,000 to expand the building in order to host community meetings ranging from area Boy Scouts to Alcoholic Anonymous.

Every Saturday this month, the church is selling barbecue food to raise funding to pay for a roughly 1,500 square foot addition to the rectory.

With about $3,500 raised, the church is also looking at other ideas such as a capital campaign or taking out a mortgage to pay for the improvements, said church officials.

Once the upgrade is made, the church is looking at making the facility available to community organizations that need meeting space or as room to host classes such as teaching English as a second language, said Leslie St. Louis, the church’s reverend since 2008.

The church is considering ESOL classes as members perceive a need for such instruction in the area, she said.

“It opens up new opportunities to offer or fulfill needs of the community, needs we may not even know of,” St. Louis said.

The church grounds are already home to Brownies, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts who meet there weekly for meetings, said Leonard Lucchi, committee chairman for Boy Scout Troop 403.

“[Meeting space] would be very helpful. We’ve been meeting in their parish hall since 1967,” said Lucchi who added that the group has grown so large they now have to rent out space at neighboring churches for the group’s annual banquet, which attracts around 200 people.

“We’ve grown beyond the capacity,” Lucchi said.

Church officials said that adding the space to the church’s rectory isn’t as much an addition so much as a restoration to the building.

The rectory had an attached kitchen and meeting area that had been added onto the 1823 rectory around 1860, St. Louis said. That structure had to be torn down around 2010 after water damage caused the addition to begin to fall away from the house, church officials said.

The water damage was ultimately deemed an act of God by the church’s insurance company requiring the church to determine how to fund replacing the space, said Bonnie Branham, a Bowie resident and member of the church’s governing Vestry Council.

Since the old addition to the building was demolished, the rectory has been largely gutted as part of a roughly $130,000 upgrade that has seen new electrical work installed as well as the restoration of the building’s original windows and overall appearance, church officials said.

“I’m absolutely overjoyed that we’re restoring this house to its original beauty and putting on an addition that will maintain the integrity of the original building,” Branham said.