Lighting the Way Renovation Project

As we Light the Way to our 100 year anniversary (Feb 2023), we pray that our facility will continue to reflect Christ in message and action, spreading the love of God to ALL people.

Please note this walkthrough does not represent final plans. There will still be changes and time for input. See the plans come to life! 

Lighting the Way

FAQs from the Cottage Meetings

Thanks to all of you who participated in our Cottage Meetings. Your feedback has helped us refine and rethink many things.  Not all suggestions can be acted upon, but all were read and discussed in our group. The Lighting the Way Team has compiled your questions and selected a few recurring themes that we would like to address. If you have a question that is not addressed below, feel free to contact Greg Cole or any member of the Lighting the Way Task Force. 

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions from the congregation:

Coffee Bar / Luther Hall – Are we taking away space in Luther Hall with the coffee bar?  Is this a good use of resources?

The purpose of the gathering space at the top of the steps is to create a welcoming and warm greeting area as soon as you walk into the building.  The space is designed with retractable glass walls, that can open up when we have events in Luther Hall and can be closed off when we don’t.  A coffee bar near the entrance, is a simple way to welcome visitors and members, while also drawing traffic away from the kitchen window.

Screens in the Sanctuary – We are a traditional worshiping community. Why do we need screens? 

We think that one of Bethany’s strength is its identity as a traditional worshiping community and the addition of screens will not change that.  As a church, we often need screens in the sanctuary for a variety of purposes ranging from showing videos in church, to projecting performances from the balcony, to displaying liturgical artwork.  We do not envision them being used for displaying hymn lyrics or replacing our hymnals.

Elevator and Expanded Main Entrance – Why can’t we just use the old elevator?  Why couldn’t we put a new elevator within the existing footprint of the building?

Folks who struggle with steps or are in wheelchairs relayed two problems with our elevator/lift situation: (1) for those who need an elevator, the south entrance (near Crystal Lake Ave) is a long way to go (often through locked doors) and (2) the existing lift in the north (main) entrance does not access the basement level and is difficult to use.  Because of the low ceiling and clearance requirements for an elevator, we were not able to put an elevator where the current lift is located.

Financing – Is this project too expensive for us?  Should we take on a new mortgage before we pay off the old one?

The Capital Resource Team for the project has been carefully looking at the numbers to determine what we can afford through a combination of a capital campaign, current assets and loans. We have also consulted with the ELCA’s Mission Investment Fund, who advised us that our cost projections are within a reasonable range for a congregation our size. The current payoff date for our mortgage is April 1, 2021, which is about in line with our timeline for construction to begin ramping up. 

Choir, Youth and Head Start Rooms – Is this move necessary? 

When the Bethany Preschool closed its doors a few years ago, it left a void – both in terms of ministry and of physical building space.  The two rooms in that wing are beautiful, with bright natural light and loads of space – prime real estate in the building.  They remained unused until Head Start asked to expand from two classrooms to four, moving in August of 2019.  By renovating that space for the choir and youth, we can repurpose it for ministry and create a central hub for Head Start in the lower level. 

Kitchen – Why wasn’t the kitchen included in renovation plans?

The kitchen was an item that was brought to our attention at the cottage meetings.  We are looking into ways to improve storage and efficiency in the kitchen.  Upon bringing this up to our architect, we were advised that any changes the kitchen would likely open us up to new health codes and could be costly.


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