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Tarzana | VALLEY FOCUS

Church to Break Ground for Sanctuary

September 27, 1997|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

After more than three years and the sale of a portion of its land to a fast-food restaurant, St. James Presbyterian Church will finally break ground for a new sanctuary.

Congregants have worshiped in the church's Fellowship Hall since the Northridge earthquake, when the original sanctuary was damaged beyond repair.

The entire ceiling had fallen down on the pews, and the walls had large cracks.

Church members gathered in May of last year to say goodbye to the original 800-seat sanctuary before it was demolished.

Now, the congregation is hoping for a new beginning, with a sanctuary that will seat only 300 and cost $1.3 million.

"We're very excited that we're finally getting underway," said Carole Carlson, a longtime church member.

"I think the new sanctuary will better meet our needs," Carlson said. "The other one was so large, there was seldom an occasion to have that many people in the church at one time."

Church officials said they hope to open the new sanctuary by next fall, but are anticipating delays if the winter season is as harsh as predicted.

Because the congregation had no earthquake insurance, it sold a portion of its land to raise money to build a new sanctuary.

The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. Sunday at 19414 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana.

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