Korean Baptist Church Wins Approval Of Addition

Architect Mark Yarrington describes the addition planned for the Korean Baptist Church of America in East Millstone.

An application to build a one-story connector between the sanctuary and rectory at the Korean Baptist Church of America on Livingston Avenue was approved June 7 by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The addition was needed, church officials said, to more efficiently use the church buildings.

A number of neighbors showed up to the hearing, and while some expressed concerns about the church’s congregation growing and creating parking problems, all said the church has been a good neighbor in its three years at the East Millstone location.

William Street resident Barbara Kissell summed up her neighbors’ position.

“We love you as neighbors, you’ve been gracious, you’ve invited is in,” she told the church representatives. “We are rebuilding this village into an extraordinary community. We’d like to include you, but we don’t want to disrupt what we’re trying to create.”

Earlier in the meeting, Joshua Byum, the church’s assistant pastor, told the board that the church does not anticipate growing its current 90-member congregation.

He said the church was purchased three years ago as a new home for its congregants, most of whom come from the Metuchen-Edison area. Somerset, he said, does not have a large Asian population, so he does not expect any real growth in the congregation.

Besides, he said, the addition does not anticipate a growth in membership.

“What this construction does is it connects the two buildings we’re going to use for classrooms and the main place of worship, and it will provide a larger restroom on the addition that we’ll build and it will cause a hallway for them to function more fluently without going outside between the classrooms and the sanctuary,” he said. “It doesn’t really add any more space to the sanctuary per se, but it does provide a lobby area, bigger rest rooms and a place for the people to travel between the two buildings without going outside.”

Byum said the older members of his congregation only speak Korean, and the younger members speak English, so concurrent worship services are held in both buildings.

Architect Mark Yarrington said that children’s classrooms for bible study will be created on the rectory’s first floor, while the current offices will be moved to the structure’s second floor. The third floor will hold adult meeting rooms, he said.

A warming kitchen currently located at the rear of the rectory will be moved into the addition, and that space converted into another classroom, he said.

The church will also install a pvc sign that will be painted to look like wood.

Franklin Avenue resident Vincent Nicotra, while sounding a warning about potential parking problems, also gave the project a favorable review.

“The look is great, the sign is great, I think you did a good job in designing it and keeping with the historic nature,” he said.


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