FUMC to expand for increasing membership

Published 12:08 am Saturday, February 6, 2010

The First United Methodist Church has announced plans to expand its new building from the fellowship hall outward along Cedar Avenue, a move that was necessary due to the popularity of its early Sunday morning service.

The church’s early morning service meets at 8:50 a.m. in the church’s fellowship hall, and has become so popular, the church has decided to expand onto property adjoining the church property that it bought within the last two years.

Jack Cooley has been a member of the church since 1992 and is working closely with the church’s plans to expand.

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“It came about as a result of the growth within the church,” he said. “We initiated our early worship service about eight years ago, and that worship service has spun the growth of the church equal to or even greater than the tradition service at 11:00. Basically, the early service is out of space, so that’s what fostered this whole thing. It’s not about future needs; it’s about current growth.”

The plans call for a two-story building to be connected to the fellowship hall near the kitchen, located where most of the church’s playground is.

“The architectural drawings that we have reviewed as recommended by the board of trustees of the church is two different levels,” Cooley said. “It expands the current seating service, which is basically full almost every Sunday, and it gives some additional space for the youth, which they need, also.

“We are going east towards Cedar Avenue, almost all the way out to the sidewalk with a lower and upper level. Where the current kitchen is now will be additional seating for the early service, and that is very significant.”

Cooley said the playground would be moved towards Perry Street to accommodate the expansion.

“The church council gave the trustees the go-ahead to get bids on the project,” Cooley said. “Once we get the bids, it will go back to the church council for approval. If it is approved, it will go to the church body in the early service and the 11:00 service for their approval to go ahead with the project.”

Cooley said that, if everything were to go as planned, it would be at least three more months before the actual construction begins.

He said that the early service is popular because it is not a typical church service.

“Today’s youth want to worship, but the traditional service doesn’t appeal to them as it does to older folks. It’s worshiping, but it’s a slightly different method or routine. This past year, we had 26 new members in the church. Those are net new members, taking into account deaths and transfers. Out of the 26, 12 of them came from the traditional service, and the same was true in the prior year.

“To the best I can recall, all of our acquisitions in land or houses and property have been for future use. This is for immediate use, and it is needed.”

People often add on to their houses, especially when their families expand. The First United Methodist Church is also expanding because its family is growing, and hopes to have more additions in the future.