Event held to celebrate Fellowship Center renovation at Village Community Presbyterian Church of Rancho Santa Fe


By Diane Y. Welch

The campus of The Village Community Presbyterian Church of Rancho Santa Fe recently received an additional make-over with the completion of the renovation to the Fellowship Center. The achievement was feted by all those involved at a “Celebration Dinner” held in the center on Sunday, October 27.

Chairman of what was named the “Re-do Committee” was church member Jan Clark. More than a hall on the church campus, the space is a gathering place and a valuable resource for the community, Clark said. The transformed center can seat up to 500 people, has a stage, and has a full-service kitchen, perfect for functions like wedding receptions and large social events, according to Clark.

Before the renovation the wear on the center had been noticed for years by church members. After 19 years of use the insulation foam was peeping out through the wall coverings, the floors were well-worn, and the chairs were getting threadbare. “We were embarrassed,” said Clark. “It was in horrible shape and we needed to do something about it.”

Clark cheered on an enthusiastic team who volunteered their time and talents to make the project move forward: Anne Wholford, ASID; Martha Eggemeyer, ASID; Holly Wilson; Martha Dominguez, who had been a member of the committee for the sanctuary; and Wendy Grumet, ASID, who took on the role of lead designer. “Wendy especially worked so hard,” said Clark, “bringing in carpet and paint samples for our approval.”

But funding was still needed to begin the process, said Clark. A letter was sent to church members and to those who had also used the center in the past. “We had so many people come forward to donate and then one fellow threw down the gauntlet and said, ‘If you can raise $25,000, I’ll match it!’” Then others came forward with varying sizes of donations and the goal was met.

These funds were allocated to painting the walls, new carpet and lighting installation, the purchase of new chairs and the removal of the basketball court, and more. “It was a complete transformation,” said Clark. “It now resembles a beautiful hotel lobby.”

Stylistically the church sanctuary echoes the mission type of architecture. The ambiance that this style evokes – a timeless simple elegance – was reproduced in the Fellowship Center through the use of warm, natural tones, like dark browns, soft browns and beige, a look that harmonizes perfectly with the sanctuary, said Clark. The hue is neutral and lends itself well for seasonal decorations or for special events like weddings or concerts.

The “thank you” dinner was held in the Fellowship Center for all those connected with the renovation: the donors, the design team and the volunteers who made it all come together.

Holly Wilson and Sandy Rhatigan volunteered as chefs, preparing fine cuisine for 68 people, which included eight servers – youth volunteers – from the church. There was a program of entertainment with Susan Fielder sharing her poem of how the project started and progressed, an entertaining visual review of groups who had formerly used the hall, plus a musical tribute by Jeff Brown.

There was a lot of very enthusiastic people and a lot of hard work that went into this project, said Clark. “We are so happy with the results. It’s simple but elegant. We want to get the word out that this is a great resource for our community.”


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