Muncy Baptist Church expands services with kitchen renovation

CARA MORNINGSTAR/Sun-Gazette Rev. Rob Rice recently stands in front of the newly renovated kitchen inside Muncy Baptist Church, 11 W. Penn St., Muncy.

MUNCY — The Muncy Baptist Church, 11 W. Penn St., recently renovated its kitchen area in order to promote more fellowship through food.

“We’re looking into the possibility of offering some free community dinners in the future. We don’t do anything currently, but we’d like to certainly explore the possibilities of helping those in our community who are in need of food,” said Rev. Rob Rice. “I know that’s a big need in our area.”

The kitchen area is located in the lower floor of the church. It also contains a large meeting space with tables for people to sit and enjoy food, and the area was brightened with fresh paint and new lighting.

“In our old kitchen, we just had appliances you’d have in your home. We had three small refrigerators, a couple stoves … What we decided to do was based on our needs,” he said. “We got a commercial-grade stove and refrigerator. We put some dishwashers in and sinks that will allow us to easily prepare and clean up for meals.”

The renovations doubled the size of the kitchen.

“Before, there was an old nursery here … There were restrooms, but they were restrooms set up in a way you had to go up steps to use the restroom,” he said. “We wanted to make it accessible.”

So now, they have two new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms accessible near the kitchen area.

“As Baptists, we love to fellowship around the table. For those people who work in our kitchen, we really wanted to do something for them that would make it easier for them to do what they love to do,” he said. “They love to cook, they love to serve and we wanted to basically do something that would make that easier.”

Rice said the church has a passion to serve.

“This is just going to make that so much easier for us, and we’ll be able to gather and enjoy fellowship together,” he said.

The construction of the project started in July 2017 and the grand opening was in March.

He said the renovation was made possible because of a generous donation from Dr. Bonnie Gardner and a Margaret E. Waldron Memorial Fund Grant.

“The project I would say as a whole was about $250,000,” he said. “It was quite an undertaking for a church.”

He said they’ve received many comments from the community that appreciate the new set up.

“I’m most impressed with the fact that so many people in our church pulled together to make this project possible,” he said. “This was a team effort from people praying, to people contributing financially to people actually helping with the work. We did the painting ourselves.”

They hope to use the space for more events with the congregation and more.

“It’s a greater access to helping the public and the community,” said Esther Henninger, church secretary. “We expect weddings, funeral dinners, bridal showers, baby showers … We hope to expand our children’s activities to down here.”

She said the old facility was useful, but this will be even better.

“It’s like going from a Volkswagen to a Cadillac,” she said. “We can prepare meals in hours when it used to take days to do things.”

She said there’s new tables, new chairs, new everything.

“I think everybody should come see it, enjoy it and let us serve you,” she said. “We’d love to serve you.”

The new renovations will make it easier for the church to do the work of God.

“The Lord tells us to love one another and serve each other. What other great service can we do than what our Savior did? He ate, washed the feet and had fellowship with his community in his time,” she said. “We hope to do the same.”