New Expansion at Morton Memorial Church
Thursday, August 31, 2017
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Trees were felled and ground broken on a expansion to Morton Memorial United Methodist Church (MMUMC) four years in the making.
The expansion is the first since the education building was added to Morton in the 1950s.
The church expansion, which will be called the Ministry Center, will add 3,200 square feet for an approximate cost—including furnishings—of $900,000. The building will be connected to the front portion of the existing sanctuary by a hallway. RVC Construction in Winchester is doing the construction.
“I’m so excited because the first thing I say to people about our building is it makes our full campus accessible to anyone that wants to walk in the door,” said Rev. Amanda Diamond.
“There was a strategic ministry team in place who had done a lot of work before I arrived five years ago, and we sort of reconfigured that team and spent time talking about how you move into growth. One of the things was how we could begin to be in relationship and partnership with the community.”
Diamond said this expansion is another step toward furthering community partnership.
Rich Wyckoff, a member of the church building committee, said space constraints and lack of accessibility are an additional part of what called for the expansion.
“We have just run out of space.
And currently, if you’re in a wheelchair, we’re not accessible. Back in 1902, when the church was built, you didn’t worry about accessibility. This expansion will provide that into the sanctuary and into the bathrooms,” said Wyckoff. “We do the food ministry, that’s held upstairs in the education building, and roughly a third of our recipients are not physically able to go up the stairs. We’re also going to put in a cooler and freezer in the new building, which will help get a wider variety of foods. Currently, if food needs refrigeration, we can’t store it. This will help to expand the fresh produce and dairy offerings to our recipients. The expansion is going to really help us with our different ministries.”
Wyckoff said a fellowship lunch for congregation members on Sundays has previously been spread over three different rooms in the church.
“This will give us a place to fellowship all together in one place,” he said. “The new facility will accommodate a table to seat 150 people.”
The project is about three weeks in and is slated to be finished in 15–18 months.
“The community is going to have needs—we don’t know what they are yet. You look at Monteagle, and there’s not a big spot for community gatherings. Something is going to develop. There may be a need out there that we have not identified yet that this building will help fill,” said Wyckoff.
The stonework on the original building will be matched on the expansion to preserve the integrity of the look of the church, according to Wyckoff.
“We really see our building as an extension of the community,” said Diamond.