YOUR church is a small, heritage-listed building that is an integral part of the streetscape.
If you have a church hall, it probably has a set of steps, a cramped kitchen with ageing appliances, and toilets well past their use-by date.
Many Uniting Church congregations face this scenario as they consider how to use an existing facility to serve their contemporary needs for multipurpose space, flexible worship, disability access, and modern office and kitchen requirements.
The congregation at Kairos Uniting Church, Earnshaw Road, Banyo on Brisbane's northside spent a number of years deciding what to do with their 1927 church and nearly 30-year-old hall located on a large flat block opposite Earnshaw State College, a P–12 school.
Kairos Uniting Church formed in 2010 from congregations in Clayfield, Geebung, Hamilton, Wavell Heights and Earnshaw Road.
The Earnshaw congregation, led by Rev Sandra Jebb and Pastor Gabriel Manueli, has a large number of members from Fiji, including people from Rotuma.
Given the limitations of the Earnshaw building and the sad state of the hall, it seemed that the simplest thing would be to put the funds from the sale of other properties into building a new church and hall complex, but the scale and the cost of the project proved discouraging.
Then one day, Ms Jebb thought, "This is a lovely church.
"Why don't we just work with what we've got?"
The decision to incorporate the original church into a redevelopment project meant that any renovations needed to comply with heritage and town-planning requirements, as well as meeting the needs of the congregation.
Architect Narelle Mercer from the town planning and architectural consulting firm Mercer and Mercer says the most important thing for church developments is making sure the congregation has a clear mission for the new buildings.
"In our experience, congregations need to go through a rigorous discernment process, leading to mission goals.
This can take some time, but will then form a brief for the redevelopment.
"For churches, the buildings must enhance and enable mission based on the particular congregation, location and existing facilities.
"Providing income and outreach, maximising value, and consolidation of facilities are all considered."
The development currently underway at Earnshaw has a wide, welcoming aspect, and fuses the old and the new with a sympathetic nod to the classic lines of the original building.
"This church has a wonderful culture centred around food and sharing meals together.
"A full commercial kitchen design will allow catering for a few hundred people.
"We have created an extensive outdoor deck that links to the old hall, enabling large gatherings," says Ms Mercer.
There is an air of excitement when Ms Jebb and Mr Manueli talk about their vision for the new facility, especially about their growing ministry to the school across the road.
"For the last two years we have been doing a lot of mission and outreach with the school and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) at Banyo.
"That's where we see our mission," says Ms Jebb.
Close liaison with the school has already resulted in groups attending special Christmas and Easter services, and a drop-in Wednesday afternoon tea.
The congregation has plans to turn the mid-week hospitality into an informal Sunday school, where parents have coffee and relax while the youngsters enjoy Christian education activities.
Other projects will bring ACU students together with school-leavers, and encourage community groups to take advantage of the new facilities.
Mr Manueli is enthusiastic about their potential.
"If you want to have a birthday party for your kids, have it here!
"We can do weddings.
"We can cater for 500 people!"
As the building takes shape before their eyes, the congregation is laying the foundations for outreach.
"We have done our homework," says Ms Jebb.
"We know the only way this mission will succeed is if we work with the community."
The development will be completed in November.