Central United Methodist Church celebrates two milestones

Radford’s Central United Methodist Church marked two major events at ceremonies on Sunday, December 3, rededicating the sanctuary after 50 years, and consecrating a new Family and Community Center dedicated to the mission of the church: “…to love God, make disciples of Jesus and serve others.”

At the initial regular Sunday service, guest pastor, Rev. Curtis McKee urged the congregation “never let the new wear off,” saying the original purposes of the sanctuary construction and uses remain new and demanding today, as in the beginning 50 years ago. McKee, who was Pastor of CUMC from 1997-2003, said he felt at home back at the church.

Moving from the sanctuary, the congregation re-assembled in the massive new Life facility for a brief consecration service to officially open the $800,000 building, dedicated to serving the church, its members and youth, and the community at large. Rev. Kim Goddard, United Methodist Wytheville District Superintendent, said the structure was designed “to pay it forward” to the community by CUMC in its mission to Radford and the world “over the next 50 years, and the 125 years since the founding of the local church.”

Bill Cook, chairman of the building committee, which planned and oversaw the construction of the new center, was presented a plaque for permanent display in the building, commending him for his leadership. He outlined the recent history of the church, including work leading up to the dedication of the center.

In 1955, the present site, on the corner of Wadsworth and Eighth Streets was optioned, purchased, and donated to the church by a loyal member. The first of three phases of the building of the new church facility was completed in 1955. This main building would be used for Sunday School and Worship.

In 1965 it was decided to build the second phase of the church facilities, the sanctuary. On October 22, 1967, Bishop H. Ellis Finger stood in the pulpit and consecrated the new sanctuary to the glory of God. This date also marked the 75th anniversary of Central Methodist Church.

The third phase of the building program was the educational wing, a large fellowship hall with a kitchen, storage and rest rooms.

On May 15, 2016, the Administrative Board voted to erect a family life center to be connected to the rear of the current church building. On September 16, 2016, an official groundbreaking ceremony took place.

Cook noted that it was clear that it was the wish of the people of Central that this building serve as an outreach facility to the community.

Cook presented current CUMC Pastor Dale Gilbert with a key to the new facility.

Those in attendance then gathered together for a meal, plus holiday entertainment by the children’s choir, directed by Alice Armentrout.

For information about the Family and Community Life Center, contact Rev. Gilbert or Associate Pastor Don Shelor at the church – 639-3529.

— Bob Thomas

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