By Jessica Brodie
LEXINGTON—What is thought to be the biggest capital campaign in a South Carolina United Methodist church has almost come to fruition.
Mount Horeb UMC, Lexington, is at the tail end of an expansion project to build a new 1,800-capacity auditorium for ministry and worship, repurpose their former family life center into a student room and café, and increase their parking by 750. And it’s all to help grow God’s Kingdom.
“We’re on schedule for the new construction, and we hope to be in that space by early summer,” Senior Pastor the Rev. Jeff Kersey told the Advocate. “That’s good!”
The project encompasses more than 82,000 square feet: a 67,303-square-foot new dual-purpose building for the church’s thriving contemporary services, with space for leisure ministry, children’s ministries and a kitchen for fellowship meals, and the 15,293-square-foot repurposed space in the former gym and family life center for the congregation’s thriving youth program.
The repurposed space—student room, café and eight new offices—opened in time for Christmas.
It can seat up to 250 with plenty of room for overflow.
“When we had Christmas Eve services, we overflowed by almost 450 for one service,” Kersey said.
For the opening night for student ministry, in January, they had some 260 students there.
Work is progressing nicely on the auditorium, which will handle all their elementary children’s ministries and nursery, as well as their popular contemporary services. Traditional worship will remain in their existing sanctuary, which seats about 900.
To date, they have received almost $8 million for the project: about $7 million of the $10.8 million capital campaign pledges and an additional $800,000 for furnishings, fixtures and equipment.
Kersey said the space will help them better minister to a booming suburban community.
“I think there’s a great excitement within the church as we move toward completion,” Kersey said. “I think we’ve realized the last four or five years our attendance growth has plateaued because we didn’t have enough room, space or parking. We’ve already seen a steady increase in attendance the first part of the year, I think because of anticipation. There’s a growing excitement to be here and be a part of it.
“There are more and more people to reach in the area, and because we have room for them, I think it’ll come about.”