In May of last year Cape Cod Church began construction on a new 40,000-square-foot church off Route 151 in Falmouth. Work is proceeding swiftly, and the church’s pastor, Benjamin D. Feldott, said the church will be open for services by Easter.
The large glass front of the church is visible to motorists on Route 151.
“The glass was a big part of it,” said Mr. Feldott, as he gave a tour of the church Wednesday afternoon. Some churches have more of a guarded fortress look, Mr. Feldott observed. “The glass mattered to us because it’s the message of being able to see what’s going on in the church.”
Behind the glass is the church’s “plaza,” a common space for socializing that will include a fireplace and espresso bar. “Rather than just sit down, face forward, and leave, we were trying to create spaces for people to meet and interact,” Mr. Feldott said. “If you create spaces for people to have conversations, good things happen.”
Cape Cod Church has a young congregation, Mr. Feldott said. “We wanted a forward looking, contemporary facility” that reflected that, he said. The average age for an adult member of the congregation is 34 and people between the ages of 20 and 29 are the church’s single biggest demographic, Mr. Feldott said.
Mr. Feldott, 45, founded Cape Cod Church in 1992 in a building behind Papa Gino’s on Main Street. The church grew slowly. “After five years we only had 30 to 35 people,” he said.
In 1997 the congregation moved to its current home on Teaticket Highway near Falmouth Lumber. Cape Cod Church now has 1,200 members, and holds three services on Sunday morning, each attended by more than 500 people, Mr. Feldott said.
The church began looking for a larger venue, but land was very expensive. Then in 2008 the recession hit. “That’s what opened the door for us to buy this site,” Mr. Feldott said. The site is 10 acres and includes 400 parking spaces.
Many of the church’s members are donating labor and time to construct the church. The church has raised $3.5 million for construction and will receive $1.5 million in donated labor and materials, Mr. Feldott said. He estimated that on any given day there are 25 to 30 workers on the property, and probably a third of them are volunteers.
Cape Cod Church member Peter M. Barbato of North Falmouth, the project’s volunteer general contractor, was on site Wednesday. Mr. Barbato is recently retired from the construction business, and said he volunteered to oversee the project because “I want to give back to the community and give back to God what he’s given me.”
The auditorium where services will be held seats 1,000; 500 on the sloped floor running down toward the stage, and 500 in the stadium seating. A 20- by 14-foot high-definition television screen will be mounted on the wall behind the stage. “We live in a very visual generation,” Mr. Feldott said.
Mr. Feldott then led the way out of the auditorium and into “kids’ town,” the area of the church devoted to babies through elementary school age children. In the wing for younger children, there are three separate rooms for infants, crawlers, and toddlers, all with heated floors. There is also an indoor play center that will include a jungle gym. “Our goal is that kids will wake up on Sunday morning and drag their parents to church,” Mr. Feldott said.
The father of four children himself, Mr. Feldott said he is sensitive to the needs of young families. Outside the main auditorium is a small, private room that will have a video feed so mothers can nurse or calm fussy children while watching the service.
Up on the second floor of the building is the youth wing for teenagers and an office suite for the church’s staff. There is also a second floor entrance to the main auditorium, where people can come and sit at tables set up behind the stadium seats. Mr. Feldott said this is the spot where he imagines a hesitant newcomer being able to check things out at a distance. “They might not even believe in God, let alone Jesus,” he said. But they’ll peek in and see ‘okay, it’s not too bad, there’s no snake handling in here ...’ We want people to come in and figure out what God’s doing in their lives at their own pace.”
Mr. Feldott then left the auditorium and stood on the second floor balcony looking down into the entrance plaza. “This is my favorite spot in the building,” he said. He gestured down toward the future plaza cafe and imagined watching “hundreds of people coming in, getting their coffee, and talking.”
“We’re excited about the potential [this building] represents ... to create community and spread the message of God’s love for people,” he said.