A ‘Center of Hope’

Wintersville church breaking ground Oct. 21 for $3.6 million addition for community outreach

ADDITION PLANNED — This rendering shows what Wintersville United Methodist Church will look like with the completion of the Center of Hope community outreach addition finished by the fall of 2019. A groundbreaking ceremony for the estimated $3.6 million addition will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 21, with a reception preceding it at 1 p.m. Both are open to the public. The addition is designed to be the catalyst for community outreach by the church and its congregation, according to the Rev. Clint Quillen Jr., church pastor. -- Contributed

WINTERSVILLE — Wintersville United Methodist Church will hold a groundbreaking ceremony later this month for an estimated $3.6 million addition for community outreach.

“The Center for Hope” has been in the planning for nearly four years and is designed to be the catalyst for community outreach by the church and its congregation, according to the Rev. Clint Quillen Jr., church pastor.

The groundbreaking will be held at the church on Oct. 21, beginning at 2 p.m., preceded by a reception at 1 p.m. The community at large is welcomed to attend and celebrate “this major step forward for the Wintersville area,” Quillen noted.

The addition will consist of a two-story, 12,500-square-foot structure to be built to the west of and attached to the existing church, located at the intersection of Fernwood Road and Main Street in Wintersville.

The addition will feature a stage and audience/activity/fellowship area that can seat more than 300 people; a new commercial style kitchen and pantry; a basketball court housed in a separate multi-purpose gym and activity area; a music room; front and rear entries; and new, large restrooms. An elevator, large enough to accommodate caskets for funerals, will allow for access from the ground floor to the first floor of the church with accompanying handicap parking just outside the elevator entrance area.

It is envisioned that the Center for Hope will become the focus for new community activities planned by the church and utilized by various community groups, families and individuals, according to Quillen.

“Our vision is to provide this community center to promote good and inspire hope in many different forms and diverse ways in our community,” Quillen said.

“We believe there is a great need in our area for a safe and secure space to provide and promote positive, productive opportunities, services, and activities for youth, children and people and families of all ages,” he said.

“We are seeking to establish this community center to help combat the societal tragedies of drug abuse, isolation, depression and an overall sense of hopelessness. We believe many lives will be transformed for good through God and this new and lasting endeavor, as we move forward to fulfill our vision, ‘to serve as a beacon of Christian love, compassion and hope to our world,'” Quillen said.

Construction is anticipated to begin in the fall and take approximately 10 months.

“We expect to see completion of the Center for Hope by late September to early October of 2019,” Quillen said. The cost of the project is approximately $3.6 million, of which $400,000 in land acquisition already has been spent. The timetable for construction consists of demolition of structures on the existing properties to the west and southwest of the current church building by Oct. 21.

Financing for the project began with approximately $1.5 million in pledges from church members after a capital campaign in the spring of 2017, with approximately $850,000 of the pledged amount already received.

“The remaining funds will come from supporters from the community, grants and generous and sacrificial giving from church members,” Quillen said.

“At this time in the history of our church, we believe God is calling us to take a major step forward in ministry and outreach,” Quillen continued. “In the spring of 2015, property adjacent (728 Main St.) to our church was anonymously purchased and donated to WUMC. This very generous donation of property served as the impetus for our congregation to undertake a strategic planning and visioning process, which, over the past two years, has resulted in plans for a more effective ministry space in the form of a new community outreach center in the Wintersville community,” he explained.

The Wintersville Methodist Church was the first church in the village of Wintersville, and “the Wintersville United Methodist Church has been serving and making a positive difference in the greater Wintersville community for more than 180 years,” he noted. Its mission as a church is “to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

The new endeavor is much more about helping and serving the community than just about constructing a new building, he added.

Besides providing three worship opportunities each week, numerous small groups and many positive activities for growth for all ages, WUMC has a high priority on reaching out and serving beyond its church walls, according to Quillen.

The church offers a free meal to the community and their church family each Wednesday and strongly supports and participates in Wintersville Good Neighbors, Relay for Life, Urban Mission Ministries, Special Olympics, a community-focused Vacation Bible School, the American Red Cross, Operation Christmas Child and other charitable organizations seeking to do good for others.

There also are community groups that gather and use the building and grounds to fulfill their purposes.

The Center for Hope will be an opportunity for Wintersville United Methodist Church to step up to help and be more active in the community and move its congregation to work to help others, showing that there is hope through Christian ministry to their friends in the community, according to Quillen.

Chairpersons include Dr. Jim and Loretta Cottrell, Bob and Shirley Gribben and Russ Grimm. The committee also included at least 30 other active members at Wintersville UMC.

For information, contact the church at (740) 264-1676.