News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

From left, Ott Sanderson, Sheila Norwood, Connie Alexander and the Rev. Rod Morgan in front of Moulton First United Methodist Church, which is constructing a $950,000 addition.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
From left, Ott Sanderson, Sheila Norwood, Connie Alexander and the Rev. Rod Morgan in front of Moulton First United Methodist Church, which is constructing a $950,000 addition.

Brick by brick
Calvary starts Ala. 20 building; other churches in construction

By Melanie B. Smith · 340-2468

After years of planning, Calvary Assembly of God Church's first new building is about to start on Alabama 20 east of Interstate 65.

"Thank the Lord," said the Rev. George Sawyer, pastor.

Chorba Contracting Co. Guntersville is on site to begin the $2.5 million first phase, said Marty Likos, vice president of Chorba. The 24,000-square-foot multi-purpose building will be open inside and used as a temporary worship center once Calvary sells its Beltline Road Southwest property, Sawyer said.

The facility will seat 1,700 in chairs, he said. This phase also will include a commercial kitchen. Some special activities such as banquets and fellowships will be in the new building, giving a temporary second campus for the congregation, Sawyer said.

When the rest of the campus is constructed, the building will be divided, half for a youth center to seat 500 to 600 and half for a gym and fellowship area, the pastor said.

Three different companies are looking at Calvary's Beltline site for commercial development but he declined to name them.

Even after the sale and a move to the temporary worship building, Calvary will need to have two morning worship services, he said. Average attendance now is about 2,000, the pastor said.

Sawyer said the phase one building should be completed in six or seven months. Shelby Contracting did site work earlier this year, including building a 600-foot road, installing drainage pipe and putting in utilities.

Calvary is planning to build on 80 acres and find a developer for the additional 100 acres it owns.

Moulton addition

Calvary's work is one of several church building projects.

Moulton First United Methodist Church is constructing a $950,000 addition. The Rev. Rod Morgan, pastor, said the building will have a fellowship hall, two classrooms, a chapel, a commercial kitchen and baths with showers. A porch will face a city mini-park near the courthouse. He said the church will use the space to serve refreshments to people in town for special events, something the church did at Christmas last year.

The work at First Methodist should be done by Thanksgiving, ahead of schedule because of dry weather, the pastor said. With additional space, the church is creating a new Sunday school class for adults ages 18 through 35, Morgan said. Future plans include adding education space, he said.

St. John's renovation

At St. John's Episcopal Church, a major renovation project is almost done. The Rev. Richard Lawson, rector, said the church has all new wiring and new lighting and sound systems in the sanctuary. Downstairs Sunday school rooms have been renovated and the entire roof repaired. A new outdoor amphitheater will seat about 120 people, and a new patio will be large enough for gatherings of 30 to 40, he said.

All that remains is landscaping and a bit of electrical work, Lawson said. Tentatively, the bishop of the diocese will bless the completed work Oct. 3, the rector said.

New facility

Hartselle Church of Christ is a few months away from finishing a $3.6 million facility on Sparkman Street.

Daniel Gaines, associate minister, said the fellowship hall building that seats 300 to 400 is already completed and the congregation is using it.

Workers should have the new auditorium, which will seat about 600 to 650 and have moveable walls to seat 1,000, finished by late October or early November, Gaines said.

The buildings will include showers in case the building is needed as an emergency shelter. No official opening has been set, but worship is expected to move there before the end of the year.

Three stories

Decatur First United Methodist Church is in the middle of a $3.9 million project. The church had ground breaking on Easter Sunday for the 23,000-square-foot, three-story addition, which includes 17 classrooms.

A new fellowship hall will have room for 650 people and will feature a stage equipped with video screens, a kitchen and a conference room. Workers have poured foundations and built walls and soon will install beams, said the Rev. Terry Greer, pastor. E Tech Construction of Hartselle is the contractor.

‘Outback’ opens

A “transplant” and a facelift are giving a middle-aged church building a new life. It was only the deed transplanted for the former Presbyterian building on Westmeade Street Southwest. Neighboring Central Park Baptist Church bought it and remodeled it.

The former Covenant Presbyterian Church is now Central Park’s “Outback” building, a youth and senior adult facility. It includes a 350-seat worship area, recreation rooms, a kitchen and classrooms. Central Park dedicated the building Aug. 12. The Rev. Craig Carlisle, pastor, said that in the future a walkway will connect the buildings. The Outback will be open after Friday football games, he said.

Covenant later became St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. After St. Andrew relocated, it leased the Westmeade building to Bridge Builders Church International until Central Park bought it.

Other church projects include:

  • Central Park Baptist’s $1.2 million renovation of its children’s and preschool building.

  • Community South Church of God’s new $210,000 building at 4011 Spring Ave. S.W.

  • Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church is building a 43,000-square-foot facility on Old Moulton Road Southwest near McEntyre Lane. Shiloh will relocate from Lafayette Street Northeast.

    CCC pays off building early

    The Committee on Church Cooperation has paid off its annex building 10 years early, said Carol Bolding, CCC executive director.

    She said supporters are excited to have paid the 15-year loan in less than five years. Bolding said retired director Joyce Ceci told board members she felt such a relief to get the $65,000 building paid off because she had gone out on a limb to push to buy it.

    Now the CCC will have to repair or replace the roof on its main building at 119 First Ave. N.E., Bolding said. The cost could be from $6,000 to $14,000 or more, depending on the board’s decision. When it rains, Bolding said, the staff has to put buckets on the second floor to catch drips, and rainwater has caused some ceiling tiles to fall.

    “We are probably the only ones in the Alabama that have been thankful for the drought,” she said. “Hopefully, both our roof and the drought will be alleviated soon.”

    - Melanie Smith

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