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The late spring snows haven’t stopped construction on the new 32,000 square-foot facility for Marion First United Methodist Church.
Set to open on Father’s Day Sunday – June 17, the new building is being built in a rapidly-growing section of the town and will address the many needs of the growing congregation.
“The first and primary decision was that we believed Marion First U.M. Church needed to be within Marion,” said Pastor Mike Morgan. “We picked this location because that’s where all the people are going. Sure enough, about 4,000 people have moved into the neighborhood since we’ve begun building up the property.”
The current building is in downtown Marion. Pastor Mike and his team lead worship services four times every Sunday to accommodate everyone in the sanctuary. A small fellowship hall is located in the basement. Parking is also challenge because there are only about 20 parking spots for “the 2,200 souls that call Marion Methodist home,” Pastor Mike added.
The new building will include The Center (literally the center of the building) – an ample gathering spaces for small groups, a dining area that can fit up to 400 people, a commercial kitchen; an education wing which includes a conference room that can accommodate 80; and a nearly 900-seat sanctuary built with rear curved sound-enhancing walls.
“The Education Wing is a sea of technology,” said Pastor Mike. “Video screens in every room, wireless internet, and there’s miles of wire in there for everything from speakers to electricity.”
The new sanctuary space will also be full of technology, but Pastor Mike says the focus is on individual worship experience.
“The concept is kind of based on a baseball diamond where the walls angle out and the back wall is arched primarily for acoustics, but also for aesthetics,” he said. “It’s got that sense of closeness where 89 percent of the seats are within the optimum hearing range. Even if we put all 860 seats in there the people will be able to see and hear well.”
The church won’t lose its downtown presence once the move is completed. The church offices and community ministry center will continue to be located in the old Carnegie Library building. “Many people come to that location when they need help,” said Pastor Mike.
For Marion First United Methodist Church, the building is the next step in a greater mission. “Our dream is to bring people to Jesus Christ and nurture them in the kingdom,” said Pastor Mike.