ECAQ officials led by pastor Robles breaks (eighth, left) breaks ground for the construction of their church. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar

By Joey Aguilar
Staff Reporter

Officials of the Evangelical Alliance Churches Qatar (ECAQ) led the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday for the construction of a new worship centre on a 10,079sqm lot in the Mesaimeer area.
Speaking at the event, ECAQ chairman Beda Robles reiterated his gratitude to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and HH the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani for granting a piece of land to build the church.
“I am very thankful to the Qatar government, the Ministers, and to the family of HH the Emir especially to HH the Father Emir for giving us a chance to have a building here,” he noted. “This has been requested during HH Sheikh Hamad’s time as Emir.”
At the ceremony, Robles also welcomed World Evangelical Alliance secretary general Efraim Tindero and other pastors from Nigeria and the Filipino community for taking part in what he described as an historical event for ECAQ.
Estimated to cost around QR100mn, the construction of the building is expected to start after the design and tendering stage, about a year from the groundbreaking ceremony.
Talks about securing a bank loan are also underway to fund the construction, according to Robles.
Virgilio Sampang, ECAQ vice chairman of the technical committee, told Gulf Times that the three-level building (ground, first floor and second floor) has an occupied area of 4,000sqm per level.
He said the capacity of each level is 1,700 and can accommodate an average of 4,500 people in one sitting. There will be no underground parking but the basement will be used for the water tank for fire protection as required by the specifications.
Designed to be a circular building, Sampang added that it will have eight sliding halls plus a main hall to house big activities and events.
“It will have typical flooring, same on all the levels. In the middle of the circle there is a hallway that will separate the offices and halls,” he said. “The second floor will also have divisions similar to the ground floor.”
Philippine ambassador Wilfredo Santos congratulated Robles and other ECAQ officials, as well as members of the group.
He cited the significant contribution of his predecessor, former ambassador to Qatar Crescente Relacion, to the initiative which they started seven years ago.
“I am happy that their effort is slowly being realised. The Philippine embassy is committed to providing any other assistance that ECAQ may need in this endeavour,” the envoy said.
The lease for the land was signed on June 24. The lease contract was concluded on October 6, 2013. ECAQ was represented by Robles and Ariel Lapada Archangel at talks with the government.

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