Strange how circumstances can seem to hit life's fast-forward button, isn't it? Back in 2000, the Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC) here at Westminster Presbyterian Church knew larger, updated facilities were necessary if we were going to continue our mission of spreading Christ's message of love, faith, hope and understanding.
Among the critical needs were more Sunday School facilities, a fellowship hall and a gymnasium. Almost as an afterthought, LRPC chairman Paul O'Neal said the church may need to expand the sanctuary "at some point."
Well, we completed our first capital campaign in 2004 with the opening of the fellowship hall, gymnasium and more Sunday School space. The result of that campaign was that our membership began to grow. It soon became evident that WPC needed more space for everyone to fit into the sanctuary.
So the afterthought became the grand idea, and in 2007 the campaign to expand our sanctuary was christened "A Place For Everyone."
We set a goal to raise $6.6 million to double the capacity of our unique sanctuary, add an atrium, bathrooms, a small kitchen and office space for the staff. As had been the case in the past, our congregation prayerfully considered our needs and responded. As you can see by the accompanying pictures, it was quite a task but with a dedicated architect and fine craftsmen, we enhanced the design of our sanctuary first opened in 1962 and reopened on a splendid Easter Sunday in 2009. Truly, the finished product is a testament to the dedication of our members who made significant financial commitments in difficult economic times.
We truly do have A Place For Everyone now with a membership of more than 1,500. But while the paint is dry and the last nail is driven, the work is not yet finished. Fulfillment of the pledges made for this, the third year of the campaign, will help us meet our goal of $600,000 toward mission work and retire $700,000 in debt.
When WPC embarked on this voyage in 2000, there was trepidation among the Long-Range Planning Committee. But they listened to the wisdom of one of our founding members, Charlie Bell. Everything we do, Charlie said, is to glorify God and to help spread His Word and do His work. Let us keep that in our thoughts, words and deeds as we meet new challenges and spread God's love.
Written by WPC member and LRPC member Mark Matlock (2011)