First United Methodist Church consecrates new facility

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2002

Features Editor

The efforts of the congregation of First United Methodist Church have changed the appearance of the church and they have also enhanced the appearance of downtown Troy.

For almost a year, the First United Methodist Church of Troy was involved in a major construction project.

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On Sunday, June 9, the church membership celebrated the completion of the new fellowship/education/ administration facility with a service of consecration.

The Rev. John Brannon said the project actually began about six years ago as a part of Vision 2000, which was a program of the United Methodist Church designed to emphasize the vision of the future of local churches.

"Our church formed a committee as part of Vision 2000 and the committee looked at how our church might better serve Christ and the community," Brannon said. "The focus of our committee was improving our outreach, improving our facility and looking with an intense and intentioned vision toward the future."

When the committee discussed improving its facility a commitment was made to stay in the downtown area.

"The mission statement of United Methodist Church of Troy is ‘serving Christ from the heart of Troy’" Brannon said. "We are the church in the center of downtown and we wanted to stay."

In an effort to improve the church facility and stay downtown, it was necessary for the church to purchase as much property in the area as possible.

The church sanctuary was built in 1904 and was unique for its time.

"The congregation of our church has historically been visionary people," Brannon said. "The architectural design of our church was different from any other church in the area and that vision continued with this congregation."

Brannon said the decision to stay downtown, and at the same time, meet the growing physical needs of the church meant having to raze another historic church building.

Taking down the former parsonage turned administrative and education building, struck a sentimental chord in some of the longtime members of the church.

"There was some skepticism and some hesitation on the part of some members, but the church membership voted to go ahead with the project," Brannon said.

The "go ahead" was a 17,000-square foot fellowship/education/administration facility in which even the naysayers are taking pride.

"Because there was a lot of sentiment attached to the old building, we wanted to keep part of the old and incorporate it into the new," Brannon said. "We saved the original entrance way and door and incorporated it into the foyer of the new building."

The new building was designed by Chuck Ingram of McKee and Associates and the work was done by Whaley Construction Company.

"Chuck’s dad, Charles Ingram works for Whaley’s and they were able to work together on the project," Brannon said. "They are both members of our church, so it was meaningful to our congregation to have them both involved in the project. I’m sure it was rewarding to them to be able to work together on a project for their church."

"The foyer of the new facility is decorated with antiques, which make a perfect setting for the spirit we are trying to convey," Brannon said. "Jane Whaley, an interior design specialist, decorated the foyer and she understood that we wanted to maintain a strong tie with the past."

The facility is exactly what First United Methodist Church of Troy needed to meet the growing needs of it congregation.

"We have 500 members and the marked growth of the church is in young couples with children and that is the best place to grow," Brannon said. "We have a tremendous youth program and we have just brought the Rev. Kent Dendy on staff as associate minister. He will work with the youth and children."

And, the church will open a day care center Aug. 5 to meet a real need in the community.

"We realized there is a real need in the community for day care for children from six weeks to 24 months," Brannon said. "There is a huge gap in care for that age group in our community. We will begin to meet that need with our day care program. In fact, that is the only age group we will serve. Melissa Parish, a Troy State graduate, is doing a super job in organizing the day care program and getting it under way."

The new facility is providing the congregation of First United Methodist Church with opportunities for outreach and ample space in which to house future visions.

"What a great blessing and opportunity we have had to be about the work of our Lord Jesus in this place," Brannon said.