|A rendering of the future St. Joseph Church
Two area churches are moving forward with plans to build new places of worship. Recently, the Archangel Gabriel Greek Orthodox Church bought five acres of land across from the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme Township. The land, which overlooks East Bay and was once owned by the Veliquette Family, was bought by the church with private, anonymous donations, according to Father Ciprian Streza, who joined the congregation in June 2011. The church worked with realtors Bob Brick and Tom Kraus to purchase the property.
The church plans to build a Byzantine-style church, a fellowship center and a community garden open to all. The garden could open as early as spring, with the church and fellowship hall following two years later. Father Ciprian says construction plans are not finalized yet, but the structure will be a small, self-sustaining LEED-certified building with room to expand in the future as needed. The church, made up of nearly 70 families, currently holds its services at a rented space on Hastings Street in Traverse City.
The plans for a new St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Old Mission Peninsula are still on, but a lack of funding has forced the original plans to be scaled down. A capital campaign, combined with church savings, has brought in $1.7 million over the past three years. But last spring the church learned the Diocese can no longer loan it money to finish the estimated $4 million project, forcing leaders to split their plans up into several phases.
Phase one, which will cost an estimated $2.2 million, consists of building a new church on 30 acres already owned by St. Joseph’s on Island View Road, a few minutes away from the existing church. The interior of the building will remain as planned. However, instead of being raised up and having a walk-out basement as once hoped, the new church will be built on ground-level to save costs. The new designs have been approved by the Diocesan Building Commission, but the church is still waiting for the bishop’s approval. St. Joseph’s business manager, Dave Sanger, tells The Ticker the building permits are still in place, so “it’s just a matter of time before the new church happens.”
Phase two would either enlarge the new building, or create a separate one, for classrooms, meetings, and offices. The current historic church, built in 1908, would also be moved to the property and connected to the new church with a covered walkway. It would be used for weekday masses.
Phase three involves building a rectory. At this time, church leaders say there is no timetable on when construction would begin, but they hope to have an update by the end of the year. Learn more about the project here.