Gary Kyriacou likened the process of building a church to the ebb and flow of water in a creek.
The priest has helped the congregation of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Camarillo through the ups and downs of establishing the church in a new location that can accommodate more people.
“Whenever we had an obstacle, it was like water that comes up on a rock. It just found a different way,” Kyriacou said. “Every time it seemed like there was a door being shut in our face, there was a great blessing from God to allow us to get around it.”
The Byzantine-style sanctuary at Pleasant Valley and Woodcreek roads—the first of three structures slated for the 4-acre site—is nearly complete.
The church will host an open house between 4 and 8 p.m. Fri., May 29 to allow the community to see the new building.
On the following day, the church will host a door-opening ceremony at 5 p.m.
The completion of the sanctuary marks the end of the first phase of construction; the congregation plans to eventually build a larger church building and a parish hall on the land.
Kyriacou said the new building was made possible by fundraisers, donations and funding campaigns over the last 15 years.
Construction at the site, which was purchased for $2 million in 2004, ramped up last fall when the church sold its former property at the Camarillo Airport to another congregation.
St. Demetrios’ congregation of about 150 families has held services in the former Camarillo Library on Ponderosa Drive for a year and a half while the new building was under construction.
The first service in the new church is expected to take place at 9 a.m. Sun., May 31.
Kyriacou said the building was designed to foster a strong sense of community, as developing relationships is an important aspect of the Christian faith.
He said the new space was made possible by the hard work, dedication and generosity of the parishioners.
“A life in Christ extends beyond just being personal,” Kyriacou said. “It extends to the community.”
Keith Valle, the chair of the building committee, has been a member of that community for 25 years. The Camarillo resident said building the new sanctuary has been a labor of love.
“It’s just been one step at a time,” Valle said. “It’s been a steady and deliberate effort over the years.”
The longtime parishioner said the new location will allow the church to expand.
Kyriacou said he feels honored to be a part of a project that will serve individuals and families for many years to come.
“This church is here to stay,” he said. “The people of this community have definitely left a legacy that will be embedded in this building for generations to come.”