JUST OVER THIRTY YEARS AGO, New Life Presbyterian Church was meeting in a rented gymnasium on Meetinghouse Rd in Jenkintown.  In faith, we purchased the Casa Conti restaurant in Glenside and turned it into a house of worship and prayer.  

NOW, we look back on our history and remember God’s amazing Providence.  Although he has given us the necessary resources to pay off the mortgage early, our building has over $1 million in deferred maintenance.  Modernization, security, and handicapped access are another concern.  

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, we ask, “What does God have in store for us here in Glenside?”


The Hotel Weldon and Casa Conti

Our current building started out life as the Weldon Hotel, built in the 1855 on the corner of Jenkintown and Easton Roads.  In 1919, the Conti family purchased the hotel and transformed the property into a burgeoning restaurant, expanding the facility several times until 1952.  It would became a mainstay of the Glenside area for the next 60 years, hosting numerous parties, banquets, and weddings.

Humble Beginnings

New Life Church began meeting in the living room of Jack and Rose Marie Miller in 1974.  We quickly outgrew these accommodations, and later met in a library, a YMCA, and a school gymnasium.  During this time, we planted six churches in the Philadelphia area, have sent out many missionaries around the world, and have started a thriving thrift store and nursery school for the benefit of our local community.

An Old Building Gets a New Life

New Life Church bought the Casa Conti on March 15, 1988, and subsequently began renovations.  The first services in the new building were held on July 17 of that year.  

Our mission then, and continues to be, “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known”, a motto that still adorns the sanctuary podium to this day.  That means our building must serve not only the needs of the New Life congregation, but also be a witness and service to our community and neighbors along the Easton Road corridor.


The current building has been our beloved, quirky home, wonderfully located on busy Easton Road for the past thirty years.  Admittedly, we have been more committed to using the building than allocating funds for its regular maintenance, and many substantial repairs are now necessary.  But beyond this, we now have an opportunity to enhance our facilities and improve them in multiple ways to enable strong ministry for the next thirty years.

In 2017, we solicited comments and suggestions from members in the congregation during a three-day architectural design charrette.  From that series  of discussions, we identified five major concerns.  The capital campaign is intended to address these deficiencies.  

Wheelchair Access

Our building is not easy to traverse for those with physical disabilities.

Install an Elevator

Installing an elevator to the ground floor will go a long way towards their overall comfort and ease of movement.

Sanctuary Improvements

The sanctuary area is not well laid out, and could use some new equipment.

Sanctuary Renovation

One plan is to move the stage to the opposite side of the room, and install new doors on the Easton Rd side of the room.

Child Security

There is no security on the ground floor where our KidsLife classrooms are.

A Safe Environment

We plan to install additional bathrooms in each classroom and seal the area behind security doors.

Social Spaces

A church should embody the fellowship of believers.

Community Gathering Space

A large area adjacent to the sanctuary provides a welcoming atmosphere and opportunity for fellowship.

Deferred Maintenance

Many projects haven't been started, such as upgrading the fire suppression system.

No More Deferments

The campaign provides a great opportunity to finally tackle these projects.

The current facility has served us well for the past thirty years, but it is not well-prepared to provide adequate service for another thirty.  There are significant repairs and upgrades required, and a long-overdue need for increased accessibility.  Navigation is also a problem, especially for our guests who frequently get lost.  And although we are committed to a church planting model, we would like to see a modest increase in seating capacity as well.

After much deliberation and prayer, the Session has concluded that raising funds for this endeavor should come from within, with no outside fundraising.  Thus our goal is promote maximum involvement from everyone within the church.  Let’s each consider how we can help.



In response to the design charrette outcome, we introduced the idea of a capital campaign to the church on April 27, 2018.  We then held an enlistment meeting for all interested members on June 7, 2018.  From this point onward, our campaign leaders are being empowered to make all necessary preparations.


The campaign was officially introduced to the congregation on October 21, 2018, also known as Vision Sunday.


We embark on a month-long period of prayer and fasting.  During this time, the entire church will be called to daily pray in humble contemplation: 

“Dear Lord, What would you do through me to accomplish your vision for our church?  Help me discern a sacrifice which is meaningful and joyful for you and for me.”


On Commitment Sunday, November 18, 2018, each family is requested to pledge an amount to give, decided for themselves over the previous month.


Our Plan

The 2017 design charrette resulted in a plan involving the expansion of the sanctuary building in three directions: towards Easton Road, towards the short stone wall in the parking lot, and a smaller expansion towards the adjacent property along Jenkintown Road.

The plan achieves the following:

  1. Co-location of childrens ministry through 5th grade to the ground floor, for both security and efficiency.  The expansion will enable a new check-in area and classroom space.
  2. Many upgrades and repairs, addressing deferred maintenance (electrical, fire suppression, restroom modernization, lighting, windows, carpets and flooring, etc.)
  3. Two sanctuary improvements, with a reorientation to face the opposite direction: first, a modest expansion towards the adjacent property, adding a stage and increased seating capacity; second, the removal of the drop ceiling to expose an attractive wooden rafter ceiling.
  4. An elevator near the sanctuary for easy access from the parking lot on Sunday morning.
  5. A generous community gathering space near the sanctuary, to promote fellowship and community.
  6. New bathrooms next to the sanctuary, as well as a new nursing mothers’ room, storage area, and other areas for worship ministry use.  (This is part of the expansion towards the short stone wall)
  7. The exterior look of the sanctuary building is completely remade and refreshed in a manner appropriate for the Glenside community.  Attractive interior remodeling is planned as well.
  8. The navigability of the building improves with a large, welcoming front entrance that leads easily into the community gathering space, the sanctuary, and classrooms.  (No one gets lost at New Life anymore!)
This plan will cost approximately $5.4 million (roughly five times our annual budget) — obviously a sizable amount of money for a church to raise in a normal three-year capital campaign.  Yet churches have successfully raised these kinds of extraordinary multiples of income, but not without extraordinary leadership gifts.  Let’s pray that our church has financial leaders with the capacity and desire to lead the way.

What's next?

Consider a commitment to the next 30 years of New Life Presbyterian Church.

Commitment Sunday was on November 18, 2018, capping off a month-long season of dedicated prayer and reflection.  However, we continue to pray for how God will use us for his purpose, and for the future of our church here in Glenside.