Center good for church, community

When the Rev. Clint Quillen spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Center for Hope, he discussed the opportunities the building would offer for members of the Wintersville United Methodist Church he is the pastor of and the community.

“We are building on the foundation of generations for generations to come,” the pastor said of the $3.6 million addition to the church that stands as a landmark at the intersection of Main Street and Fernwood Road.

Now complete, the center is an impressive facility that will make a big impact on the village and, hopefully, church officials have said, will serve as a catalyst for a widespread community outreach.

The 12,500-square-foot structure includes a fellowship area that can seat more than 300 people and features a raised stage as well as professional-quality sound and lighting; a commercial-style kitchen and pantry; a separate gym area that includes a full-size basketball court that can be used for other activities including volleyball and pickleball; a music room; several storage areas; and an elevator.

Much of the money to fund the addition has been raised through contributions from church members and a committee chaired by Dr. James Cottrell and his wife, Loretta.

Members of the public will have the chance to see the new facility during a series of open house events and community meetings that are planned for the next couple of weeks. Church officials want those who attend to offer input into activities they would like to see offered there. The building, they add, will be available for use by Christian and faith-based groups as well as other community organizations.

That activity will culminate with the church’s Celebration Weekend. Set for Feb. 21-23, the events will include the dedication ceremony, a concert, mission projects, gym activities for children and a guest speaker.

The church has been a vital part of the community for more than 180 years, and has stood at its current location for more than 130 years. Church members and all who have been involved in the expansion project and the promise represented by the Center for Hope deserve to be commended for their efforts that will allow the institution to continue and expand its mission of connecting with God, growing in faith and serving in love.