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Church plans weekend celebration

Christ Church United Methodist is having a homecoming celebration with activities planned throughout the weekend, including tours of newly renovated space.

The portion of the building that was refurbished is a section built in 1954 that survived a 1969 fire. With the exception of a first-floor chapel, the rest of the Christian Education Building was completely redone as part of a $2.8 million project.

A tour of the facility reveals the scent of fresh paint, colorful surroundings and generous windows. It all looks brand new.

"It was our time to renovate it," said Dayton Carpenter, chair of the board of trustees and building coordinator. "We got the congregation together and said, 'It's our time to make this a special place for children and families.' We wanted a special place where children and families would want to come."   

The first floor has 4,465 square feet used for choir rooms for children and adults, office space, and kitchenette.  

The second level includes 11,500 square feet and houses Sunday school classrooms, a large community meeting room, The Growing Place preschool, and pre-kindergarten for 4-year-olds. Inviting colors include cheery shades like sky blue, green, yellow and purple. Carpet is green with a brown path leading to the classrooms. Security cameras and doors that lock from the outside have been added for safety.

The gym is on level three, where old bleachers have been replaced with new ones that can accommodate wheelchairs.  

A spacious basement is the gathering place for youth with a kitchen, comfortable areas for sitting and game tables. A cross is built into the carpet in one area while the kitchen floor is done in blocks of purple, orange and green.        

Older windows in the building were refurbished by artist Chris Dutch, who also created some new windows. These are all now double-paned for energy efficiency.

A new heating and cooling system allows temperature to be controlled in each room. There is a new sprinkler system and an elevator offering access to every floor.

The Rev. Randy Flanagan, lead pastor, said the building is geared to be energy efficient and safe while offering the latest in technology. He said the church has received $2.3 million in pledges toward the cost of $2.8 million. He is grateful to Carpenter and many volunteers who saved the church thousands of dollars by doing things like tearing out old bleachers or refurbishing locker rooms.

Carpenter offered a long list of those involved in the project. Among these were Wiseman Construction, Progressive Electric, Harris Brothers, Brewer & Co., Astar, ZMM Architects & Engineers, Cornerstone Interior, W.Q. Watters, Keith's Kitchens, and Randy Allio of J.R. Creations.

He also named Adam Krason, lead architect; Glenn Savage, construction manager; Jill Watkins, interior designer; Kathy Chaney, director of children's ministry; the Rev. David Donathan, music minister; Sharon Standish, church business manger, Barbara Carpenter, youth director; the Rev. Janet Flanagan, director of the preschool; and a host of church volunteers.

While that sounds like a lot of folks, he points out that God made it all possible.

"If you build for the right reasons, it will happen, and that is because the man upstairs has got your back," Carpenter said.

Renovations began in April 2012. As part of the project, the church is in the process of acquiring an additional piece of land to be used for a playground.

Events planned throughout the weekend begin at 7 p.m. Friday with three women who have served as clergy at Christ Church. Speakers include the Rev. Shauna Hyde, the Rev. Anne Rex, and the Rev. Loretta Isaiah.

Saturday is music day with a reunion choir meeting from 9 a.m. to noon for practice for a performance during Sunday worship. Volunteers will also meet Saturday morning to work on the community garden.

A covered dish dinner is set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday with entertainment provided and a community art project to be created for use in worship on Sunday.

Worship is 10:30 a.m. Sunday with Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball leading the service to consecrate the newly renovated Christian Education Building. This also marks the 40th anniversary of the Centrum, rebuilt after the 1969 fire and completed in 1973.

A reception immediately follows worship. Open house is 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday when visitors may tour the facility and see the renovations.

Go to ccumwv.org for more details. Christ Church United Methodist is located at 1221 Quarrier St. in downtown Charleston. The telephone number is 304-342-0192.

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlotte@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.


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