MVC nears decision on World Revival Church
Members of the World Revival Church hope to begin construction of a new building in the spring, pending a decision on Feb. 9 by the Martha's Vineyard Commission (MVC).
The MVC closed the public hearing on the project last month. With the completion of its post-hearing review this week, the land use planning committee (LUPC) voted to recommend the project's approval with conditions at the February MVC meeting (see story below).
The World Revival Church's proposal underwent review by the MVC as a development of regional impact (DRI) because it involves an assembly place of 2,000 square feet or more and is designed to serve the residents of more than one town.
The facade of the proposed World Revival Church building, as rendered by architect Darran Reubens.
The 90-member Brazilian congregation has outgrown its meeting place in the nearby Masonic Lodge since it began in 1998, said Pastor Ronei Rezende. Sometimes attendance at Sunday night services swells to 150 people, especially during the summer months or for special programs, he said.
"Our biggest problem right now is no rooms," the pastor said. Church activities take place during off-peak traffic hours on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, including morning Bible classes for adults and children. The church also provides support services, including translation.
The Martha 's Vineyard church is affiliated with the World Revival Church Assembly of God in Boston, which appointed Pastor Rezende as the regional pastor for the Island and Falmouth in 2004.
Pastor Rezende, who served in the ministry in Brazil, came to the United States in 1989 and led churches in Boston and Leominster before his Falmouth and Vineyard assignments.
The World Revival Church purchased its Vineyard property in November 2000. After receiving a building permit from Oak Bluffs in 2004, the church had the lot cleared of trees in anticipation of imminent construction.
Funding for the new church was to be provided by the Martha's Vineyard and Cape congregations, as well as the church headquarters in Boston. However, renovations at a sister church in Boston took precedence, delaying the funding for the new Vineyard church.
In the meantime, the building permit expired. When church officials sought to renew the building permit, the Oak Bluffs interim building inspector referred their project to the MVC as a DRI.
In a meeting with the MVC staff last May, church officials originally proposed a 320-seat facility with a 6,500-square-foot footprint and 84 parking spaces. Plans called for a pre-engineered rectangular steel building with wood shingle siding and cathedral ceilings, with a roof height of 25 feet and a steeple height of 52.5 feet.
However, during the DRI review process, the commissioners suggested that the church downsize its project, in keeping with the ratio of building size to open space they had approved for other churches and projects on the Island.
Tom Conroy, the church's attorney in Cambridge, said the commissioners offered some constructive criticism, pointing out that the building's original design "looked more like 'an airplane hangar than a church.'"
Darran Reubens, the church's architect and project manager, went back to the drawing board, scaling down the plans to a 200-seat church and community room with a 5,500-square-foot footprint and 74 parking spaces. In order to eliminate the "hangar look," he created a visual break in the length of the overall building by making the roof over the community room perpendicular to that of the sanctuary.
"We have been very successful with the commissioners' help in getting this project to this point," said Mr. Reubens. "We have scaled down the mass of the building, still maintaining the use of the structure, and have good buffering from Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. Landscaping around the building will provide screening and give it a woodsy feel."
Although the length of the building was cut by 40 feet, the sanctuary size remained the same by reducing both the community room and entry area by 10 feet. In addition, a 20-foot-long carport was eliminated and the entrance changed from the front to the side of the church.
"We needed a building that would flow from one room to another, so that we did not sacrifice the way the church members conduct their services," Mr. Conroy said. "Family members go to different areas during the worship service, and children rejoin them in the sanctuary when it is age-appropriate."
The MVC's deliberations and decision are scheduled for Feb. 9 at 7:30 pm. "A lot of church members who are workmen in the trades will be donating their time and effort toward construction and landscaping," Mr. Conroy said a few weeks ago. "We would like to get a shovel in the ground in the spring and get it going."