Congregation gives local church a makeover

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sweeping changes are coming to First Christian Church of Demopolis inside and out.

Three months ago, the church established a Strategic Planning Committee to talk about positive and negative aspects of the church. The group met three weeks in a row and made a series of recommendations dealing with facilities and services.

Pastor Marshall Murphy said they looked at items they could change right now and some that may be down the road. Currently, members are focusing on building renovations.

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“We made two year goals and we also made long-term goals,” Murphy said. “A lot of the goals are being accomplished one by one and right now, we are taking on the facility aspects.”

Wednesday night, Phase One of renovations began. These changes include painting the fellowship hall, kitchen, nursery classrooms and bathrooms in the fellowship hall. Phase One, Murphy said, should be completed quickly, which will allow them to look at long term plans.

“We are hoping to get this done within the next week or two and after that we are going to start Phase Two,” Murphy said. “Phase Two will be a little bit more of an undertaking because it includes all the Sunday School classrooms, the pastor’s office and remodeling the side entrance of the church to make is a little more appealing and a little more attractive to newcomers and new visitors.”

Other Phase Two plans include new furniture for the pastor’s office, putting up a mission’s wall and adding more lighting in the hallway.

Not all o the items discussed for Phase Two included building renovations, Murphy said. The committee also discussed how to make worship services more appealing. One of the final goals, which are adding a Sunday School class for young married couples, is set to launch Sunday, March 5.

This addition, Murphy said, should be a lot of fun.

“We are going to start the class off as an informal relaxed type Bible study,” Murphy said. “We are going to talk about the history of the Christian church like where we came from and what we believe. It is going to be a video series and each Sunday morning we are going to have breakfast for that class. I am really looking forward to it.”

An old partnership may also be part of the new plans. For years, Murphy said, the church held vacation Bible school in conjunction with First Presbyterian Church. This summer, he said, they would like to renew this partnership or form a new one with Trinity Episcopal. The addition of signs in the endzones of West Alabama Prep and Demopolis High School’s fields are also expected to draw interest toward the church.

Group ministries in the homes of members for Sunday afternoons, rather than the traditional Sunday night service may also be on the table.

One of the biggest questions for the committee is whether or not to expand the building itself. Murphy said they own the lot behind the church, which makes expansion a very real possibility, but, for now, they are on a wait and see basis.