Over the past five years, excitement has been building at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Scottsbluff.
The white stucco church on the corner of 20th Street and 1st Avenue has created a renewed emphasis on reaching out to the world.
As part of this growth, church leaders delved into discussion on how to open the heart of the church in a manner that would have physical impact in addition to the energy felt by parishioners.
Church Vestry and Foundation members consulted an architect to create a design and renderings of how St. Francis could make a new, more open impression from the street. Work began this week on the improvements.
The white stucco border wall will be replaced by a railing system that opens to a view of the church’s courtyard from the street. The railing will also provide safety, as it lines the sunken courtyard. This visually open approach also presents a view of the courtyard windows into the church parish, which will be the most distinctive exterior feature visible from the street.
The work will be implemented in two phases by Anderson Shaw Construction, with the final phase an extension of the church’s 20th St. entrance, to begin after Christmas.
The St. Francis Rector, Fr. Mark Selvey, said the congregation hopes to demonstrate its openness to the community physically and symbolically. “We are open to all people, ” he said.
“We also wanted to increase our space. We’ve grown enough the past few years that we needed more space to accommodate larger numbers as we gather and prepare for worship.
We’ve been on this same corner now for almost 100 years and we are committed to serving the needs of those in our community, particularly those whose lives intersect with us in this location.”