Bridgeview claims its place in Norman
By HOLLY McCRAY
On May 19, Bridgeview United Methodist Church in Norman consecrated a home of its own.
Until last month, the church had occupied rental spaces since its planting 13 years ago. The new building, about 9,000 square feet, sets on debt-free church property on Indian Hills Road, about 1 mile west of Interstate 35.
Late into the night on May 18, Pastor Sheri Lashley labored in love at her sewing machine. She created brilliant red paraments to adorn the church for its Consecration Sunday — on Pentecost Sunday. Worshippers who wore red added to the sense of rejoicing on the special day.
In the afternoon service, founding pastor David Poteet prayed, "Eternal God, let this building be a house of salvation and grace, where Christians gather to worship you in spirit and truth … May they learn of you, and may they grow together in love."
Rev. Poteet recalled Bridgeview’s 1999 beginning in a Norman school cafeteria. "We started with high hopes. We wanted to be that bridge into God’s future," he said, as well as to offer ministry that bridged the change of centuries.
He challenged today’s membership. "People will come to see the new building. But you people will bring them back by how you articulate the purpose" of the church.
South OKC District Superintendent Frankye Johnson concurred. "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain who built it," she quoted from Scripture, referring to the congregation and not the structure.
In 2006, Rev. Johnson joined Bridgeview’s journey to find a way home. She expressed gladness at "seeing the fruit today."
The church’s handbell choir, chancel choir, and one of its two praise bands performed.
Johnson performed the official duties. Among other special guests were Terry Dyke of the Bi-District Board of Church Location and Mike Wiley, senior adviser with the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation.
Johnson proclaimed, "It is with joy that we gather to consecrate this building. But the consecration … is vain without the consecration of those whose gifts it represents. Let us give ourselves anew to the service of God: our minds, bodies, and labors."
Rev. Lashley echoed her clergy peers. "We have a lot more ministry to be and churching to do," she said.
Two people have joined Bridgeview since the move, she reported. And the first wedding in the new space will take place this month.
The new building includes a sanctuary that seats almost 200, classrooms, kitchen, nursery, and offices. Water elements gurgle outside the main entrance.
Building cost was $2.3 million. Rev. Wiley said the project is the right size for Bridgeview’s budget.
Welcome home, Bridgeview.