By Lonnie Huhman, email@example.com
Dexter United Methodist Church welcomed the community in to celebrate the grand opening of its newly expanded space.
To recognize the hard work, planning and vision, church and community members gathered Jan. 12 inside the church’s new atrium space for some food, singing by the choir and an official ribbon cutting. There were two days of special activities to celebrate.
This was nearly a four-year process, Dr. Matt Hook, DUMC’s Lead Pastor, said. He said the process saw the church diving in to make the new space happen. He said the church gave God room to work and that made a huge difference in helping this project become a success.
Hook said this new chapter would not have happened without God’s help, and the sacrifice and dedication of everyone involved.
“The church dove in and gave sacrificially,” Hook said. “In order to make sure we wouldn’t just have a community center for ourselves, but we could be a center for the community.”
He said the grand opening was more than just buildings; it’s about building upon people’s hearts to do things like help others in need. Just recently, before the new space was to be opened, the church used some of it to help give temporary shelter to a group of people who are homeless.
Going forward the new space will offer various options and activities.
The Newkirk Commons and gym is meant for daily activities for all ages and levels of mobility for things like open gym time, craft groups and cooking classes in the kitchen. The atrium is a great third space for people who want to meet with a friend, enjoy a coffee or are working from home. The den, which is an area with kid-friendly options, will have times set aside each week for stir-crazy kids and their parents.
“And we’ve come to the moment today, where we get to celebrate opening all of this up, in a whole new way,” Hook said before gathering those in attendance to help with the ribbon cutting. “My prayer is that this opening isn’t just a symbol of buildings, but it’s a symbol of our hearts opening up to people, with the strength of God.”
Dexter resident Louie Ceriani attended the event with his wife, Maria, who have been longtime church members. Ceriani, nearly 92-years-old, said he first went to Dexter United Methodist Church as a boy. He said he remembers the old church, moving from it, and how that was difficult to say goodbye, but it had to be done because the church was growing.
He said each step has seen the church dedicate itself to the betterment of its community and the greater community.
“By the grace of the good Lord, here we are today,” Ceriani said looking around at the new spaces. “I feel really good for this church.”