Jan. 8, 2013
By DAVID GREEN
Fayette United Methodist Church members bought the land before they knew what they were going to do with it. Now, with the dedication of their new Family Life Center, they know the right decision was made.
Rev. Kathy Currier, who joined the Fayette congregation in 2009, was told that members have spoken for three decades about the need to expand. The old kitchen in the basement is small and the fellowship area became crowded during a church dinner. The room designated for teens and younger children wasn't big enough to comfortably hold the 38 kids who now attend services.
"We outgrew the basement long ago," Rev. Currier said.
There was talk of expanding on the north side of the church if the residential property became available or on the west side in the parking lot area. Every year some money was set aside for expansion when the right time arose.
When property across Main Street became available at a great price, the church board decided to purchase the four lots in March 2011, and ended up using part of the land for a community garden for two summers.
"We didn't know what we were going to do with it when we bought the property," Rev. Currier said.
About a year and a half ago she spoke with the church board about building a fellowship hall across the street. It wasn't what they discussed in the past, but the more they thought about it, the more it made sense.
Four special meetings were scheduled for the congregation to discuss the issue.
"Every meeting was unanimous," said Kathy's husband, Jim.
The congregation voted in the winter of 2012 to begin a Capitol Funds Campaign for a Family Life Center, placing Jim Fruchey in charge of the project. Ground was broken in May 2013 after the congregation raised most of the funds needed.
The $600,000 project ended with a building that's both simple and built well to last for years and years. The board knew that a pole barn-type building could be erected, but that's not at all what they wanted.
"We knew that if we couldn't do it right, then it wasn't time to do it," Rev. Currier said. "We built it well, something to last for generations."
She's amazed by the generosity of people, and not just from church members.
"We had gifts from community members who aren't even part of the church," she said. They simply supported the idea a community facility.
Pledges of various sizes left the church board with the need to take out a small loan for the mortgage, but gifts knocked down costs considerably. Site preparation was done at no cost, for example, and a portable stage was donated. The church paid for parking lot stone, but the hauling was free.
"People were so generous," Rev. Currier said. "Some people could only pray to show their support."
It's obvious to church members how the facility will be used for their regular needs, but they're searching for more.
"We are still discussing and planning the ministries that will be held in the building to serve the community needs," Rev. Currier said. "We have lots of ideas. We're hoping to bring the community in and build relationships."
The building will be available for community use, but with some limitations. Not just every request at all times can be granted.
There are still needs to be filled—such as a sound and projection system and furnishings for the youth room—but the building is getting used. The Family Life Center was dedicated Dec. 1 and a Christmas concert took place Dec. 21. The youth group has also made use of the facility after its snow shoveling service projects and for other events, and two families used the building for Christmas parties.
Already there are some signs of use, but Rev. Currier knows that's a necessary part of a new building. A member of the congregation helped her acquire the proper attitude.
"I see every mark and stain as ministry," she said. "They show that the building is being used."