Poteau-First completes new building


‘The congregation has worked so hard’—Greg Tener

By Carol Baker

A new chapter in history began on Sept. 25 for Poteau’s First United Methodist Church. On that day, the spacious new sanctuary building was consecrated.

Demolition of the old building took place in June 2010, with groundbreaking in July. After a construction period of more than a year, the congregation is enjoying worship in the beauty of the new facility.

"The entire congregation has worked so hard to get us to this point," said Pastor Greg Tener. "From design work to capital campaign, there has been a growing excitement and anticipation for our new ministry setting.

"We were blessed to have Bishop Robert Hayes preaching that Sunday. His sermon title was ‘The Sure Fou

Photo by Mike Lee
Poteau UMC’s stained-glass windows from 1908 now grace the church’s new sanctuary building, which was consecrated Sept. 25.

ndation,’ based upon Luke 6:47-49. We were joined by many former clergy families on this special occasion."

The traditional architecture uses brick and stone, and includes a bell tower.

In the sanctuary, sloped flooring provides a clear line of vision for worshippers. Padded pews will seat 300, with areas for persons with disabilities, and there is a balcony. There is a raised chancel with dual lecterns for pastor and liturgists. The choir area includes dedicated space for handbell choir members.

Stained-glass windows from 1908 were refurbished. A high-quality media system was installed. The Family Room has speakers and a monitor to observe worship.

Photo by Sheri Zabala
The Communion Table is consecrated. From left: District Superintendent Darrell Cates, Pastor Greg Tener, and Bishop Robert Hayes Jr.

A smaller chapel, accessible by an exterior door, is suitable for personal meditation, intimate weddings, etc.

The narthex features a wide entry hall leading to a large, open welcome center to accommodate approximately 100 people. It has marble and wood flooring and wood-trimmed columns.

A large multi-use room with catering kitchen also was constructed.

An interior concourse connects the sanctuary to the pre-existing Family Life Center and the Education Building.

Also added were a portico and a large parking lot. A garden with fountain and a prayer labrynth will be added features in the future.

"It is our hope that, with these enhanced features, the congregation of Poteau First United Methodist Church will continue to serve God and community for many more years," said Rev. Dr. Tener.

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