Carthage Church Breaks In New Family Life Center
First Presbyterian Church in Carthage has just nearly doubled its size by adding a Family Life Center.
The new $1.25 million church hall so closely matches the historic main building in style and design that the two blend as one structure.
The project came in both under budget and ahead of time, and opened well before its expected date. Recently the church held its annual bazaar - a Fall Festival - inside its new center and on the grounds outside.
"We started thinking about it three, three-and-a-half years back," said the Rev. Rick Martindale, minister to the congregation. "You know, my predecessor, David Coffey, had pushed toward building one.
"We started by looking at area churches and getting an idea as to what we wanted. Then, a building committee formed, which Linda McCaskill was chair of. Paul White chaired our capital campaign project, worked with our consultant Bunn Perkinson, a good Presbyterian from over at West End. All those groups got going and working hard."
Various design proposals were put before members of the church, and their views sought. Out of this emerged a preliminary concept. However, costs for that initial plan exceeded the church's budget. Working with a new firm and cutting back somewhat - no vaulted ceiling, a smaller footprint - the church agreed on a final plan and broke ground last year.
"Our architect, Jake Kanoy, is right here in Moore County," Martindale said. "He's also a member at West End. We basically got about everything we wanted, just a little smaller."
Wait did the church did, because it allowed time to accrue more money.
"We were able to pay for at least two-thirds to three-quarters of it up front," Martindale said. "It took a lot of work, as you can imagine with any building project, but we benefited from good weather and finished early."
A major feature of the Family Life Center is a single multipurpose room.
"We have a basketball court in there and a volleyball court in there, and of course a stage," the minister said. "The kitchen is probably twice or three times as big as our old one was. The great thing is we went from having a fellowship hall that was too small for all of us to sit down in to a space that is handicapped accessible with no issues, and we can seat the entire congregation twice."
Longtime church members are enthusiastic about the expansion. Former Carthage Mayor Tommy Stewart grew up in this church.
"I think it was a good idea. We have already seen how much difference it can mean in our church," Stewart said. "Three years ago when we had our bazaar, we had to hire the old town hall. This year we had it inside. It is just fantastic."
Stewart, like Martindale, credits former minister David Coffey for getting the ball rolling.
"David started it," he said. "I don't think anybody thought much about it before David started it. He was also talking about the gymnasium, and a lot of people were against it. After Rick got here, I think Linda McCaskill was the one who started a movement toward doing this."
The center does seem to be attracting attention.
"I don't know if it had anything to do with it, but we've had an awful lot of visitors the last few Sundays," Stewart said. "Some of them have become regulars. When they had the Bible school, there was plenty of room to do everything and for everybody to be comfortable at the graduation. We've had a couple of covered dish suppers in there, and they went well. We've got the elevator, so any handicapped people can get where they need to go."
At the festival, Bingo Barringer donned a chef's hat to hold court in the new kitchen.
"I was in charge of the women back there cooking," he said impishly. "It is a brand new kitchen, got all kinds of equipment. We've got a conference room, got a big, long table, nice chairs. I mean, it's uptown. Got a nice elevator from the basement to the top floor. It's got more people able to come to Sunday School."
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More like this story