A new home for a second flock

Saturday, October 22, 2005
The exterior of New McKendree United Methodist Church's new Celebration Center. (Don Frazier)

Today, the congregation of New McKendree United Methodist Church has a reason to celebrate.

Around 13,000 reasons actually, all in the form of square feet in the church's new Celebration Center on Highway 25.

The center, which debuts today with a fall festival event, represents not only additional space for the congregation, but also a new ministry.

Workers completed the flooring Thursday in the sanctuary/dining hall of New McKendree United Methodist Church's new Celebration Center.

"Our plan is to have one church with two locations," said the Rev. John Rice, pastor at New McKendree. "We will maintain a traditional worship at the old site and the new site will offer children's worship and a contemporary worship experience. We believe we can offer the best of both worlds "

Plans for a new site began several years ago, when church members realized the kitchen at the High Street location -- which was built in 1910 -- was less than accomodating. Parking uptown has also been an issue.

"We don't have any room for expansion at that site," said Rice.

The Celebration Center is across from South Elementary on 60 acres of land, which means plenty of room for future growth, said Rice.

The building features four large adult classrooms, a childcare/toddler area, an information center in the entry, an office, large kitchen and a sanctuary/ dining hall that can seat 300.

Rice said his church is the fifth United Methodist church in Missouri to develop a second site. Nationwide, there are about 2,000 churches of various denomination with multisite ministries, according to Rice.

New McKendree patterned its second site on a United Methodist Church in Sedalia, Mo.

"We're in the middle of a vital growing community, and this increases our capacity to offer ministry to people," said Rice.

Rice will be the principal minister at both sites. The High Street facility will maintain its 8 and 10:30 a.m. traditional services. There will be a 9:15 a.m. contemporary service at the Celebration Center.

Services there will begin Oct. 30.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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