It’s been a little over two years since the congregation of Enterprise United Methodist Church lost their building to a fire. Now, their plans to rebuild are coming to fruition as the new sanctuary and other facilities are on the road to being completed.
John Leek, the church’s pastor, is looking forward to the new beginning, saying church members are grateful for those helped them after the fire.
"We have seen God all over this," Leek said. "It seemed like things weren't moving forward as we thought they should, so we looked at Scriptures and prayed and God opened up the path we needed. When we wait on the Lord, He opens some doors."
One of those doors opened the day the fire happened on Jan. 12, 2016. The Rev. Macon Phillips, pastor of Enterprise Baptist Church, and his congregation offered their facilities as a place of worship for the EUMC congregation.
"They have been absolutely amazing," Leek recalled. "When they found out insurance was not paying for us to use their building, they would not charge anything.”
People from five different institutions, including several churches and the Clarke County School District, offered them a place of refuge after the fire. That generosity crossed denominational and racial lines, as two African American churches offered use of their buildings.
The new church is being built all on one level, unlike the previous one which had two levels, making it less accessible to people with disabilities.
The total square feet of the building will be 13,000 square feet. This includes the sanctuary, two offices, nursery, five classrooms, bathrooms, a half-court basketball area and a courtyard between the sanctuary and other rooms.
"We had three priorities before building," said Leek. "That is to be welcoming to people, (aesthetically,) flexible and durable for the ministry of children and mobility for our people with problems getting around."
The community has stepped up by donating building materials and services, which has kept the cost of building approximately half what it would have been.
The helpers are not all members of EUMC, Leek said. A local businessman, Andy Kersch, is affiliated with the Baptist Church in Enterprise and provided all the field dirt at no cost. Another member from Concord Methodist, Joe Mallard, hauled and did dirt work at about one-third of the cost expected. The Town of Enterprise and its employees have been a big help in the project as well, Leek said.
Looking ahead, a group called "Builders for Christ," will be arriving during the first week of June. They’re coming from as far away as Oklahoma to help with the building, bringing about 80 volunteers.
Costs for the project have been derived from the insurance, donations from estates and other donations totaling $35,000 Leek said. Their goal is to raise $200,000.
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An historic bell, which survived the fire, still stands in front of the church site and was rung Easter Sunday. Leek said he’s looking forward to when it rings the first time when the new church hosts its first worship services.
A rummage sale will be held Saturday from 7-2 p.m. at the pavilion between the church site and the Baptist Church in Enterprise. Non-clothing donations may be dropped off Friday from noon to dark at the same site.