Easter season always seems like a good time to open a new church. It’s a really good time to resurrect one.
First UMC in Sedalia lost their historic downtown church to a fire four years ago. A traditional church with modern features is now ready to welcome a new generation of disciples.
“We lost our building four years ago, but we didn’t lose our heritage, faith, courage or our call,” Rev. Jim Downing said during a Heartland District Clergy meeting that was held at the church on March 3.
The church is located at 916 Thompson, directly behind a busy shopping center and on the edge of a housing development.
“We now have a new community in reach,” Downing said. “There are 70 churches in Sedalia, but only six on this side of Plymouth.”
The building is 18,000 square feet, has a large commercial kitchen and a dining hall that will seat 300 people. Downing said the church wants the building to be a gift to the community, and to be used as a community gathering place.
The structure is traditional in design, but with impressive modern touches. The 84-foot spire is prominent from the surrounding area. Video screens are incorporated into the center of a large spread of stained-glass windows on each side of the chancel area.
The church features the innovative pew chair, which looks like a pew but sits like a chair. The pews come apart in single-seat segments. The first Sunday of worship a pew was shortened in length so a worshipper in a wheelchair was able to sit with family at the front of the church rather than in the back.
The downtown church was 2.4 miles from the south campus. The Thompson church is 2.4 miles from the south campus and 2.4 miles from the former downtown location.
The address of the church is 916 Thompson. Downing relates the address to the scripture of Exodus 9: 16, 16 “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
Heartland District Superintendent Jim Simpson praised the church’s thoughtful design. “All of the stuff Jim is talking about matters,” he said. “We are communicating something theological and biblical with our space.”
The new facility opened on February 2. There are plans to consecrate in a special service with Missouri Bishop Bob Farr April 26. Worship is at 11 a.m., Sunday mornings.