Kardinia church starts construction of new building in Dennington

New home: Sandro and Susan Schietroma with site manager Michael Sgro at the former St John's Primary School site where they are building the new Kardinia Church in Dennington. Picture: Christine Ansorge
New home: Sandro and Susan Schietroma with site manager Michael Sgro at the former St John's Primary School site where they are building the new Kardinia Church in Dennington. Picture: Christine Ansorge

Construction work has begun on Kardinia Church’s new $2.4m facility in Dennington.

Located next to Kardinia Childcare and Kindergarten, the church will seat up to 300 people and will come with a cafe which will eventually be open to the public.

Kardinia senior pastor Rick Wright, of Geelong, said with the childcare centre nearing capacity after just three years of operation, they would look at possibly expanding the facility in about 18 months when the church was completed.

He said there was spare land which would allow for another room to be built onto the not-for-profit childcare centre if demand was still there.

The view from Raglan Parade of the new Kardinia church on the site of the former St John's Primary School site in Dennington.

The view from Raglan Parade of the new Kardinia church on the site of the former St John's Primary School site in Dennington.

Mr Wright said the church was costing about $2.4m to build, taking the total investment (including the childcare centre) in Warrnambool to $5.5m. “We’re pretty excited about being in Warrnambool,” he said.

Mr Wright said the aim was to create quality care for children. “People want much more than somewhere to drop their kids off,” he said.

Their Geelong childcare centre was one of the largest in Victoria and had reached its capacity of 225 children with 80 people on the waiting list, he said. 

Flashback: Sandro Schietroma walked away from the heavy metal rock scene when he became a christian pastor.

Flashback: Sandro Schietroma walked away from the heavy metal rock scene when he became a christian pastor.

Pastor at the Warrnambool campus of Kardinia Church, Sandro Schietroma, said the Warrnambool childcare centre had grown to about 90 children per day and employed 40 staff. “When we started we had five staff and six kids,” he said.

While the childcare centre is owned by the Kardinia church group, it is operated by a committee of management of professional business people. However, the Warrnambool church campus does run playgroups at the centre. The church also provides pastoral support to the centre and church members also volunteer their time for working bees.

Sandro Schietroma shows off his heavy metal guitar skills during church.

The Warrnambool church, which is expected to take six months to complete, is part of a multi-campus church which has three campuses in Geelong as well as Ballarat and Melbourne. There are also plans to build more Kardinia childcare centres in Ballarat and Melbourne.

Mr Schietroma and his wife Susan have been pastors of the Kardinia church for four years and about 160 people attend the church.

“We want to something that authentic and different in Dennington,” he said. 

Mr Schietroma became a church pastor after walking away from the heavy metal rock scene in Melbourne about 30 years ago. “I gave it all up. The lifestyle didn’t fit very well,” he said.

However, he still manages to belt out a few heavy metal riffs on his guitar in church every once and while. He said once opened, the church planned to hold a number of free events for the community, including lunches, and helping those in need.

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