By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
It's been an exciting year for the First United Methodist Church of Temple.
'There have been a lot of improvements to the church,' said the Rev. Tom Robbins. 'It's the result of a church grown rampantly.'
Membership has been growing steadily for the last seven years.
'And in the three and a half years I've been here, it's boomed,' Robbins said.
One area that has seen a spike in popularity is the FUMC contemporary worship program.
An average of 30 people attended contemporary worship services three years ago. Now the attendance averages at 175.
To accommodate the growing contemporary worship group, FUMC opted to create a new space for them, a Family Life and Worship Center. Its construction, now complete, started a year ago. 'It was an extensive project,' Robbins said. 'The cost was near $3.5 million.'
The center's first event will be Sunday's 9 a.m. contemporary worship service. A special dedication ceremony for the building is set for 10 a.m.
'That'll be the new home for contemporary worship,' said Tim Wilson, contemporary worship leader.
Measuring at 15,000 square feet, the new center features large viewing screens and state-of-the-art sound equipment. It connects to the church's Raleigh White Youth Activity Center.
'The youth center was remodeled in the process,' Robbins said.
It's got an additional 4,800 square feet of space.
'That's great for the children's ministry,' Robbins said. 'We were literally running out of room for kids to sit.'
The additions have given FUMC a new look. It's no longer a single structure at 102 N. Second St. It's an enclosed campus that spans across three blocks, from Calhoun Street to Adams Avenue.
'That means kids don't have to cross the street going from building to building,' Robbins said. 'Bigger, better, safer.'
Now that the Family Life and Worship Center is complete, FUMC plans to remodel Dennis Hall, its former fellowship hall, into offices for church staff.
The goal is to complete that project within the next two years.