The Holy Spirit Christian Church, located at 17 Herzog Place, was recently presented with the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce's beautification award in recognition of the renovation of its facility.
The entire front facade of the church, which had always been that of a store front, was completely rebuilt. Instead of clouded windows and weathered shingles, the church now showcases a refurbished lobby and new front facade that is highlighted by a large crucifix and new glass doors. In addition, sidewalk masonry was laid at the church's entrance.
According to Reverend Kelly Brake, pastor, although the renovations became necessary when the wall started to pull away from the rest of the structure, he and his congregation had long wanted to beautify their church.
"We were thrilled with receiving the award," said Pastor Brake. "For us it is more of a testimonial for how we wanted to present the person of God ... If we are a church representing God to the community, we wanted it to be done with excellence. So the community recognizing that to us means we were successful."
The Chamber of Commerce, in the spirit of its revitalization efforts, has for the past several years been giving beautification awards to commend local businesses who have increased their stake in the community by renovating or bettering the appearance of their facility. Their hope is that by giving recognition, they will encourage other businesses to take an interest in their own facility.
Ella Columbo, president, Hicksville Chamber of Commerce indicated that the Holy Spirit Christian Church renovations, and other projects in the community act as a domino effect in promoting beautification. She further stated that several businesses on Herzog Place have undertaken beautification or renovation projects over the past year.
"Institutions or businesses that take a strong interest in their appearance, such as the Holy Spirit Christian Church, play a critical role in a community's development and growth," said Columbo.
Brake, who said he has received many positive remarks about the church from people who are encouraged to see a significant improvement in a building that for a long time looked bad, agreed, saying, "I think it is very important to have a strong sense of pride in your community. That was not our overall goal but that has been a side benefit of the front being improved.
"Appearance does not define who people are but it reveals how they feel about themselves," said Brake. "We did not have a good looking building, but there were wonderful people inside of it and as our people began feeling better about themselves they wanted to reveal that outwardly. I feel a community or a neighborhood likewise reveals how it sees itself by how it presents itself."
He continued, "If people leave things trashy, if they do not care if buildings are run down, that is pretty much how they feel about their own lives. If they feel good about where they are going, then as a home, as neighborhood, as a community they are going to reflect that in their physical presentation."
The Holy Spirit Christian Church was incorporated in August of 1983, meeting originally in the basement of the Episcopal Church on the corner of Jerusalem Ave. and Old Country Road. In 1990 the Holy Spirit Christian Church merged with the Church at Hicksville, which had been located at 17 Herzog Place since 1976.
The Holy Spirit Christian Church is opened Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.