A walk of faith

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2003

Family Life Center to be dedicated Sunday at Park Memorial UMC

Beyond the "walk of faith" stands a monument to its purpose.

The "small little monument" rests inside the new Claudia Crosby Family Life Center, which will be dedicated Sunday at Park Memorial United Methodist Church in Troy.

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And on that monument is the simple phrase "Go, ye" … a catchword of sorts that recalls the great commission and speaks volumes about the purpose of Park Memorial Methodist Church.

"Our focus and vision is that we truly want to be a biblical-centered church," said the Rev. Steve Rascoe, pastor of the 650-member congregation.

"We draw on God's scripture and place Him in our lives to do His work."

The congregation is admittedly an evangelical one, Rascoe said. During the past nine years, the congregation at the Elba Highway church has nearly doubled. That blessing, as Rascoe described it, inspired the vision that led to Sunday's dedication.

As the congregation grew, its education rooms in the existing fellowship hall became cramped. "It's hard to squeeze 20 people into a 15- by 15-room," Rascoe joked.

A thriving preschool program during weekday mornings; weekday outreach programs that range from discipleship training to stewardship training to divorce recovery workshops; growing Sunday School classes continued to expand.

So the congregation began to form a vision for a family life center that today houses a multi-purpose center with gymnasium flooring; a stage; a balcony; moveable tables and chairs that can host a covered-dish supper or a large church meeting. "It meets its name as 'multi-purpose,'" Rascoe said.

And, the new facility had doubled, "if not tripled," the size of the old classrooms.

"This shares part of what our vision has been as a church: to minister not only on Sunday mornings," Rascoe said.

Commissioned as part of the church's 50th anniversary last year, the new fellowship hall blends history with future. It is named after the late Claudia Crosby, a congregation member whose generous gifts have continued to help the church grow. "She had a great vision for the church and a love of the church,"

Rascoe said.

And it is designed to meet the future needs of what has been called Alabama's fastest-growing United Methodist Congregation.

"I don't pay much attention to statistics," Rascoe said. But he does recognize the growth. A new 8:30 a.m. praise and worship service each Sunday continues to grow, and the 11 a.m. traditional service fills the sanctuary.

More than 100 children attend the weekly Kids Club activities on Wednesday, and the four-day preschool program is still growing.

"We've been blessed," Rascoe said.