Building on unity


More than 70 members attended the Dec. 19 groundbreaking for McAlester-First UMC. Photo by Katie McCauley

McAlester United Methodists launch capital project

In McAlester on Dec. 19, the members of First UMC broke ground for the construction of a new church facility. The ritual was held one week after a vote by the congregation to move forward with construction.

"The contractors are eager to get started after the first of the year," said Charles Neff, senior pastor, "and so, with Christmas and New Year’s occupying the last two weeks of the year, we thought it best to break ground right away. It ended up being a beautiful day for mid-December, and the ceremony was very well attended."

The start of construction comes two years after the merger of the Grand Avenue and Wesley UMC congregations, which formed First UMC of McAlester on Jan. 1, 2009. The new facility is being built on the former Wesley site.

The building will include a Family Life Center, classrooms, and office space, totaling 22,000 square feet. A sanctuary and more classrooms will come in future phases.

"This first phase will allow us to completely relocate from downtown to the new site," said Rev. Dr. Neff. "Our new home will provide wonderful new opportunities for ministry in our community, and everyone is very excited to see it started. God is doing great things in McAlester!"

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