By A.J. Rao
CLYMER - In an attempt to make their church more user-friendly, Clymer residents have joined together in a display of community spirit.
Photo by A.J. Rao
Pictured is the groundbreaking ceremony at Clymer United Methodist Church. From left are Bill Schutt, Wilbur Renskers and Cherrie Lictus.
The Clymer United Methodist Church, located at 565 Clymer-Sherman Road, performed a "groundbreaking" ceremony Tuesday, to initiate building renovations, all designed to make the church more accessible to the public.
The renovations include increased seating capacity, an elevator that will traverse all three levels of the building, handicap accessible restrooms, an expansion of its fellowship hall, a new ground-floor entrance, a ramp to the utility entrance and an air-condition sanctuary.
"It was the congregation that realized the need for this," said Pastor Carolyn Stow, of Clymer United Methodist Church. "It was driven by the need to provide ministry to all people."
Planning for the project began in 2009, when the church's Accessibility Committee started exploring ways to make access easier for church-goers. After consultations with architects and holding several congregational meetings, the church finally gave the project the green-light, contracting it out to Empire Development.
According to Stow, renovations are expected to last until next spring, though the congregation will be allowed to return to the church on Feb. 1. despite ongoing work. The congregation will attend services at the gym of Clymer Central School during the bulk of the construction.
The projected cost for the renovation is approximately $436,000. According to Stow, 40 percent of the cost has already been raised through three-year commitments by church members, memorial donations and other fundraising events.
Upcoming fundraisers include a harvest ham dinner, scheduled on Thursday, Oct. 24, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. and a bazaar soup and salad luncheon, scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both are located at the Clymer United Methodist Church.
In regard to the whole project, Stow said she is grateful to the community.
"Clymer has a strong spiritual base to begin with," Stow said. "(They) heard the will of God and answered that call."