Grace Community Church, a fixture in the Seal Beach community since the 1940s, is currently undergoing a significant remodel. Construction began in January 2017 and is expected to finish in August 2017.
While previous renovations to the building updated its interior, the current project seeks to improve several exterior aspects of the church including increasing handicap access, providing a better recreation area for children, and revamping the building’s exterior appearance. After going through a bid process, Bremco, a local general contractor was chosen for the project. Bill Lewis, Bremco president, has overseen the work and has been responsible for assisting the church in bringing their vision to reality.
“Community is a good word to describe sort of where we’re coming from with this project,” explains senior pastor Bob Wriedt. Every aspect of the church’s new design seeks to invite neighbors inside and create a true community experience. One such example is the new, spacious patio area currently being built. “Before, because of how [the patio] was laid out, it was really hard for people to stand out here and talk to each other,” Wriedt continues, “It was hard for people to make new friends or to sign up for groups or to pray with people.” Another nod to the church’s focus on community are two ramps on either side of the building, creating the illusion of two arms reaching out.
Although the remodel still has work to go before its completion, its effects are already visible. Cool grey and white colors on the church’s walls tie in the Cape Cod design aesthetic common in Seal Beach. “We tried to maintain some of our heritage while also fitting in well with our community and our neighbors,” Wriedt explains. The neutral palette also allows for smaller details, such as the building’s original stained glass windows, to shine. “[The windows] were always there, but no one really noticed them because it was yellow and brown, and it kind of just got too cluttered,” Wriedt explains, “We’ve had a lot of people say, ‘Wow! I love the new stained glass!’ but the stained glass has been there for a long time.”
Overall, Wriedt expresses his gratitude to the church community for the success of the remodel: “Our church has really responded well [to the remodel], and our community has too...Every Sunday, people are so excited to see what’s happened that week.”
Even more, Wriedt thanks the community of Seal Beach, explaining, “Our church has been here for so long that we really consider ourselves part of [the Seal Beach Community]. It’s part of our name as a church, it’s who we are.” He describes Seal as a “tight-knit place” where people are “there for each other in good times and in bad times.”