New facilities on the way for Riverchase United Methodist
By RICHARD PARKER / Community Columnist
When Dr. Jim Savage accepted the call to become senior pastor at Riverchase United Methodist Church in June 1998, he knew good things could happen, but had no idea how much the church would grow over the next 14 years.
RUMC has an average weekly attendance currently of close to 1,700, up from 600 back then. With 20-30 babies in the nursery every Sunday at the beginning of his ministry, the church began to establish programs to attract and interest young married couples. Today the nursery rolls carry the names of 120-130 babies and “the workers hope they don’t all show up the same week.” A blossoming swarm of toddlers, children and young adults challenge the space on the church campus every week. It became apparent several years ago that if things continued as expected the church would be hurting for space by 2010 and beyond.
“We move into a building program when we start to hurt, not before,” said Stuart Garrette, building committee chairman. “We want to be good stewards while providing the facilities we are sure we need.”
In 2009, a building committee was formed to begin work on how to solve the space problems. Now three new buildings are nearing completion.
The new buildings, adding a total of 35,000 square feet, almost exclusively address the space needs of children and young adults.
The Education/Office Building will house Sunday and Wednesday night activities for children as well as provide additional space for the day school during the week. The Student Worship Center will house all activities of teen youth groups throughout the week, including a crowd approaching 200 on Sunday nights. An additional building houses scouts and other outreach ministries.
“By the time December rolls around, we should find our ministries running more efficiently and teachers and workers providing more meaningful contributions. Mom and Dad can load all the kids in the car and find something for the whole family ready and waiting,” Savage said.
Richard Parker can be reached by email at email@example.com.