An addition will be added to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Hillsboro where the large white house adjacent to the church now stands, according to a press release from the church.
“We are a downtown church. Hillsboro is our home. The Episcopal Church has had a presence in Hillsboro since 1854. This is home,” said the Rev. Judi Wiley, according to the release.
“We are the only Episcopal Church in town,” she said, “and we care about this community.”
St. Mary’s “has graced the corner of High Street and West North Street for more than 161 years. When St. Mary’s was built in 1855, there were horse drawn carriages bringing the parishioners down dirt unpaved streets. It was a time of growth and newness. Soon the Civil War exploded and Hillsboro stood her ground. St. Mary’s did also,” according to the press release.
Known as “the church with the red doors,” the release stated that the small congregation “has decided to open those red doors and serve our community where needed. An addition will be added where the large white house stands now, next to the strip mall. The house has a colorful history but through the years was remodeled with lead paint and asbestos siding. This made it unsafe for expansion and unsuitable for our needs.”
“We don’t want to always look to our past to find our worth,” said Rev. Wiley, “we want to look ahead to what God wants us to do.”
So “in the near future, the white building will be removed and the addition begins. There will be a full basement space to house a specific ministry to children and families in Highland County. Research is being completed to provide a before school and after school program for children. Also, plans are being made to include a pre-school program in the near future.”
The ground-level first floor “will house our Sunday School classrooms and a space for children’s groups to meet, such as Scouting programs and 4H groups and other civic groups. The top floor will house our offices, a large meeting room, and a conference room, open to public use. An elevator will access all three levels and all three levels will be ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant.”
“We, the members of St Mary’s Episcopal Church, think this will serve Hillsboro in many ways and we consider all we do as ministry and not just business,” said Rev. Wiley, “and it is our mission to serve and care for all of God’s people.”
Construction will begin this summer with the demolition of the white house and construction of the new space, according to the release. The local architect is Darin S. Schweickart, RA, NCARB of DS2 Architects, and local contractors will be used, according to the statement.