Archive for Thursday, March 20, 2008

Eudora United Methodist Church moves in to new home, construction ongoing

Eudora United Methodist Church Pastor Michael Tomson-Degreef leads children in a celebration of Palm Sunday at the church's new building, 2084 N. 1300 Road.

Eudora United Methodist Church Pastor Michael Tomson-Degreef leads children in a celebration of Palm Sunday at the church's new building, 2084 N. 1300 Road.

March 20, 2008, 12:00 a.m.

Updated: March 19, 2008, 4:06 p.m.

The Eudora United Methodist Church has been in its new location at 2084 N. 1300 Road, since Feb. 3. However, as the newly installed organ was introduced Sunday to the congregation with a fanfare-style flourish of notes, it gave the day the feel of a grand opening celebration.

Such has been the case for each of the last few Sundays, as each week new details have been added to the building. In fact, the church still doesn't have its permanent occupancy permit

"Every Sunday, there's something new," Pastor Michael Tomson-DeGreef said.

Tomson-DeGreef, who has been with the church since July 2006, said just getting into the building has been a long process. He estimated it took about 10 years, although construction began July 9, 2006.

"They've carried this dream long before I got here," he said. "The church decided the facility downtown at 7th and Church streets just wasn't meeting their needs."

But everything about the new facility, right down to its location south of Kansas Highway 10 at Winchester Road, is serving its purpose.

"This new building is bigger, it's all on one level so it's more accessible, and it's more visible to the community," Tomson-DeGreef said. "And by building it out here, we're keeping up with the growth pattern."

On many levels, it's been no easy task. The congregation had three capital campaigns, sold two church buildings and took out a loan to raise money for the building.

"It's taken a lot of stretching and sacrificing and it's a real risk - a real leap," Tomson-DeGreef said. "It's working, but it's been a lot of hard work"

Church members also helped with construction in their spare time. Tomson-DeGreef said their work fostered a sense of accomplishment that made the facility feel like more than just a building.

"We have the ownership of having done it ourselves, but it took a long time and took a lot of people's sacrifice when they could have been doing something else with their time over the last year-and-a-half," he said. "It's been hard on us, but there's a real sense of pride."

As the weather improves, the congregation will begin work installing a playground, signs and parking lot. They also will begin to make improvements to the church body, as opposed to the church building.

"After we catch our breath here, we want to shift the focus to building the ministry and what we're offering - more classes, more things for youth, getting our praise band going," Tomson-DeGreef said.

There also are two more phases of construction, but no timetable has been given for projects that include a gymnasium, classrooms and a permanent, more classical-looking sanctuary.

"I'm just really proud of the people and look forward to serving the community," Tomson-DeGreef said.

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