Christian life center to open with Saturday celebration

Friday, February 2, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 1:24 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Most people would not associate the church with being cool, especially since it was built in the 1920s. But Colin Skinner hopes to change that perception with the opening of the New Christian Life Center on Saturday.

Seated at the intersection of Ninth and Elm streets, the new center is a modern addition to the Missouri United Methodist Church. There have been complaints that the center is an incongruity next to the historic building, but some said a modern structure might be what the church needs.

Skinner has been going to the Missouri United Methodist Church for three years, and said he is looking forward to the opening of the center. “It’s pretty cool,” he said.

The center at 204 S. Ninth St. as been five years in the making. It houses classrooms, a music center, a multi-purpose room, a dining hall and an indoor playground. The two-story building, however, is a scaled-down version of what was originally envisioned.

“You get great ideas but you get more ideas than the budget can handle,” said Dave Babel, chairman of the church’s board of trustees.

“If we don’t do something, we are going to be an older congregation that has no young people, that’s struggling to maintain an old building,” said the Rev. Jim Bryan, senior pastor of the church. “For the future of the church, we need to be able to reach out.”

The official opening celebration of the center, which, begins at 4:30 p.m., will consist of building tours, a dinner and the consecration of the building.

“I personally think, from what I heard, that we got almost everything we wanted, though maybe not as big or grand. We came up with an awful good Christian Life Center,” Babel said.

The opening of the center does not mean that all the work is done, though. The church still needs to raise funds and encourage members of the public to visit the center. Bryan said the center is planning an open house for the public.

“It took five years to get to this point but we still have work ahead for us,” Bryan said. “We still need to fill the building with people.”

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