Avon United Methodist Church (AUMC), 6850 E US Hwy 36, will complete a 4.4 million dollar expansion of its current facilities early next month. The project is adding 8,000 square feet and includes a new worship space, Plan-N-Share wing, multipurpose room/gymnasium and foyer.
The church underwent a previous expansion in 2004 which doubled its size from 14,000 to 28,000 square feet. Church officials fully expected that the size would need to be expanded again within the next five or six years but like many projects during that time, the recession slowed funding efforts. However, in June 2016, AUMC was able to break ground on its newest construction phase.
“I think there is a very strong mindset here that if we work together, then we can get it done,” Lead Pastor Rev. Larry Kurtz said. “There was a need for additional space because this is a growing community and a growing church. We have a catch phrase called, ‘see the need, meet the need,’ from the smallest of things all the way up to major renovations.”
Kurtz, who became lead pastor in 2012, says the project plans have morphed alongside the changing needs of the community and church.
At the core of the project is the new worship space which boasts a seating capacity of 600. In the initial plans, the multipurpose room and worship space were slated to be one area.
“Rather than making one big room that could be used for worship and recreation, we built a large worship center and another large totally different area for a Gymnasium,” Kurtz said. “This church family is building for the future, for the growth of the community and this church for the next 20 years.”
The church facilities already host several outside community organizations such as A.A. and Al-anon, but with the newly added space, it opens the door to a wider audience.
“The worst thing you can do is build a church and not use it,” Kurtz said. “We’ve been contacted by community organizations about utilizing the space for education and other activities, and we want to partner with them.”
The first use of the building will be AUMC’s annual Vacation Bible School which runs July 10-14. The free program is led by over 100 volunteers who educate about 400 students each year.
Bill Pfaffenberger, who has led the construction project, says the upcoming Bible school is a motivator for getting everything done.
“We are really pushing hard to get this project completed so we can hold our Vacation Bible School because that’s who we are building for, the future generation.”
By Chris Cornwall