For the first time Sunday, worshippers at Calvary Church in Naperville enjoyed their newly remodeled sanctuary.
Senior Pastor Randal Ross called the renovations "taking care of God's house."
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"It's lovely," said church member Heidi Perioli, of St. Charles. "Even though it's bigger than it had been before, it seems a lot more intimate."
About three or four years ago, Ross said it became apparent that the sanctuary needed updating. It had been 20 years since the 43-year-old church last remodeled. The sound system was failing, the lighting wasn't up to par, and the seating capacity needed a boost.
So last year, the church began raising funds for the $3 million renovation project. Ross emphasized that the goal is to have the amount paid off by the end of the year. He also pointed out that volunteers donated about $1 million in labor.
As part of the renovations, the walls were stripped for a new sound system, which changed the acoustics and now offers much clearer sound. The entire building was rewired, new carpet was installed, and a new road was built on the west side of the church.
On any Sunday, the church, which prides itself on its multicultural population, will draw more than 7,000 worshippers.
One of the parishioners, Brittany Swint of Oswego, said the improvements to the sound system are important for such events as the Easter production.
Dan Murphy, who lives in the Naperville area, was also impressed by the remodeling.
"We know that the sanctuary is where you invite the Lord into, so it doesn't have to be fancy," he said. "But the environment, to be dressed up as it is, actually shows that we value the people that come in there as well. It's kind of like tidying up the house for guests."