Several months ago, Tony Wenas, President Director-PT Freeport Indonesia inaugurated the new Sion Church building in the center of Tembagapura where the 68 Engineering building had been.
The Sion Church had long been without a home since being evacuated from its building near the Bukit Barat area due to land stability concerns.
The process of converting the 68 Engineering building into a comfortable place of worship took many months and lots of hard work.
New Sion Church Building a Mix of New and Old
Parts of the Sion Church building are recyclable materials while iron beams from the old Engineering building were utilized as framework for the new Sion Church building.
Fire resistant and waterproof HardiFlex cover the Sion Church walls. HardiFlex board is resistant and durable to fire, water, termites and weather conditions. In terms of aesthetics, it is considered beneficial because the exterior and interior appearance of the Church will weather the elements better.
The front exterior tower was constructed using iron beams covered by HardiFlex boards, and with its hidden bell, is the main icon for the new Sion Church building.
Church Construction Uniquely Challenging
Building anything is challenging no matter where it happens, but building something in the center of town is another challenge all together.
Constructing the tower required a crane, which meant the strict risk management process associated with high-risk construction was crucial to a safe installation, especially considering the crane was operating near overhead power lines.
A 2.5-meter cross hanging over the altar was made using 12-year-old railroad ties made of ironwood (eusideroxylon zwageri), complete with natural carvings that give the impression of a sacrifice on the cross.
Plenty of Room for All
The main building is 28 meters long and 18 meters wide, providing space for 600 worshippers – twice as many as the old Sion Church.
Wood ornaments on each pillar combined with white walls and a wood carved motif vinyl floor add the distinctive nuance of Papua.
While the church is an important place of worship for its members, it’s also a symbol of religious diversity in Tembagapura.
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