Since the first worship service held in our sanctuary on Easter Sunday in 1926, four generations of families have gathered at 930 North Boulevard to proclaim their faith and praise God together. We are excited to announce that construction has begun on our sanctuary! In honor of the sacrificial gifts of our congregational ancestors and all the generations who have been blessed by their faithful witness, the Sanctuary Capital Campaign theme is Generations: Embracing the Past, Renewing the Future.
On June 19, the Church Council voted to proceed with implementing significant accessibility improvement at T.J. Jemison Boulevard (East Boulevard). This ambitious plan, “Phase II” of the renovation, will allow access to the sanctuary elevation without encountering steps via a new covered drop-off, vestibule, and elevator. Watch the video below or scroll down to see the brochure for more information about Phase II.
Check Out Our Plans & Progress:
The Organ Is Nearly Finished!
The sanctuary’s new organ, being built by Casavant of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, is nearly finished. The instrument is currently being assembled in the erecting room at Casavant and will be fully functional the first week of November. The organ will be disassembled the second week of November and will arrive at our church the third week of January. Casavant, one of the most celebrated organ builders in the world, has instruments on all six inhabited continents, ranging from small portable organs of only a few stops to large cathedral and concert hall instruments.
Casavant has extended an invitation to tour their shop, witness their craftsmen in action, and hear our organ for the first time. A trip is being arranged from November 5-9 to visit Montreal, Quebec City, and the Casavant workshop. Details are forthcoming. If you are interested in knowing more, email Lamar Drummonds at email@example.com. Join us and enjoy beautiful Canada and cool weather!
Removal of Original 1930 Organ Pipes
The original sanctuary organ, installed in 1930, had a celestial division with pipes speaking from the attic. Even though this organ was removed in 1972, the supporting mechanics for the celestial division remained in place. The remaining workings of the 1930’s organ are being removed from the attic. Spray foam insulation will be added to the underside of the roof for energy efficiency and sound mitigation from the interstate.
Construction of New Chancel
The new chancel (from communion rail to the back row of the choir loft) is being framed. The chancel flooring will be composed of white oak and sapele wood. The seating in the choir loft will have a radius (curved) seating plan to improve the musician’s aural experience.
Sanctuary First Floor
The chancel flooring (from behind the communion rail to the back row of the choir loft) will be composed of White Oak and Sapele wood. The choir loft will have a curved seating plan to improve the singers’ aural experience.
The original oak flooring under the pews (currently under carpet) will be refinished. This reflective surface will support greater congregation participation during hymns and spoken liturgy.
Wheelchair accessible seating will be doubled. The aisles will feature cork tiles in a checkered pattern reminiscent of the 1924 sanctuary flooring plan (see sample). Benefits of cork flooring:
• Unparalleled durability
• Environmentally friendly
• Excellent acoustical properties
• Easy maintenance
The new organ will be built by Casavant Frères of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Founded in 1879, Casavant Frères is one of the best-known and most respected pipe organ builders in the world. Organs built by Casavant can be found on all six inhabited continents, ranging from small portable organs of only a few pipes to enormous cathedral and concert hall instruments.
The instrument for First United Methodist Church will have over 3,200 wood and metal pipes. The construction of the instrument will take approximately 10 months and will be delivered in January 2020.
In keeping with the original architectural style and design aesthetic of the 1924 sanctuary, the new façade case will be made of stained birch and the exposed façade pipes will be stained and lacquered gold.
Rambusch Lighting from New Jersey has been secured to enhance the lighting design in the sanctuary. New chandeliers and sconces (designed by Terry Eason), spotlights, and an increased number of recessed ceiling lights will be LED to increase energy efficiency and to save on maintenance costs. Up-lighting will softly render the architecture, while increased down-lighting will serve the needs of the congregation in the pews. The new fixtures, dimming control, and programmable scenes will provide a variety of atmospheric and visually engaging lighting options.
A new cross (designed by Terry Eason) will be fabricated in the finest grade mahogany with gold leaf accents. The cross will be suspended from the ceiling between the new organ case and the altar. Two pin spotlights will be focused on the cross, with their own dimmer, providing varying levels of illumination on Sundays, and at contemplative services such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday.
The results of the acoustical review performed by acoustician, Scott Riedel, revealed unwanted audible echoes manifesting from the face of the balcony rail. Installation of sound absorption panels to 50% of the balcony face railing, as suggested by Riedel, will resolve this issue. The absorption panels will be stained to match existing woodwork.
A new sound system will be designed to deliver the highest level of speech intelligibility to every seat in the sanctuary. We are excited that the new sound system will incorporate a hearing loop system.
What is a hearing loop?
A hearing loop is a special type of sound system for use by people with hearing aids. The hearing loop provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to “T” (Telecoil) setting.
The hearing loop consists of a microphone to pick up the spoken word; an amplifier which processes the signal; and the loop cable, a wire placed around the perimeter of the sanctuary to act as an antenna that radiates the magnetic signal to the hearing aid.
Why use a hearing loop?
• Removes unwanted background noise
• No need to use a receiver/headset
• Sound goes directly into the hearing aid
• Can be used by anyone with a compatible hearing aid
• It is inconspicuous
• Any number of worshippers can simultaneously use the system
New Companion Bathroom The current ushers’ room, located at the east side of the narthex, will be reconfigured to include two new bathrooms. To provide accessibility, one of the bathrooms will be companion-sized. The hospitality room, located at the west side of the narthex, will maintain current dimensions. A new flat screen television will display live video of the service.
Improved Chancel Elevation
Terry Eason’s creative redesign of the chancel area (from communion rail to the back row of the choir loft) will improve sight-lines for the congregation by increasing elevation of the altar, baptismal font, and pulpit. The flooring of the entire chancel area will be a mixture of stained hardwoods.
Ways to Give
We are asking you to prayerfully consider making a 3-year commitment to this effort beginning June 1, 2018, but if you would like to structure your gift in another way we welcome that. Before you fill out a commitment card:
- Begin with prayer, asking God for guidance and discernment.
- Consider what your sacrificial gift might look like.
- Determine the amount of your three-year commitment.
- Decide how you will give your gift:
- Complete your commitment card.
- Continue to pray for your church and this capital campaign.
Download the Giving App
You can now mange your giving conveniently from your smartphone! Download and install the Shelby Next Giving App from the App Store or Google Play. Search by organization name (First United Methodist Church) and/or by zip code (70802) and select FUMC from the list. Next follow the instructions to create your donor profile. You are now able to:
- Choose the amount and frequency of your gift
- Give to a specific budget (Generations Campaign, general funds, missions, etc.)
- Make a one time donation or set-up recurring payments
Giving Calculator Chart
Use this chart to estimate your total gift over the three-year “Generations” campaign and shows the greater impact your gift can have when it is spread over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sanctuary Renovation and Capital Campaign FAQs
What is the Generations Campaign?
We are raising money to improve the sanctuary acoustics, lighting, sound system, accessibility, and to purchase a new organ.
Why do we need a capital campaign?
We want to provide an opportunity for the congregation to invest in the future of our church. Not only do we want to honor the sanctuary provided for us by past generations, we want to improve our sanctuary in order to bless current and future generations.
How can I support the campaign or get involved?
We ask that you prayerfully consider your financial pledge to support the campaign. We also ask you to pray for the church, for the renovation committee, and for the work that will be done.
I am a younger member of the church with little or no savings. How can I give to this campaign?
Generations before you have carried the cost of the sanctuary and now we need your help. We are developing a plan where you can sign a written commitment for three or five years that will allow the church to borrow money to complete this project. Young families, who will enjoy the blessings of the sanctuary for years to come, need to participate.
What if I am retired or nearing retirement and my savings are limited?
No gift is too small, and God honors each and every one. Jesus held up the widow’s mite as the most extravagant gift he had ever seen. And, when we pool all our resources – small and large – we can accomplish far more collectively than we could individually. We want the entire congregation to participate in this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
I am an older member of the church and gave to the last capital campaign. Why should I give to this one?
The church has existed at this location for 92 years and we need your help in making sure that it will continue to serve God and the community in the future. As an older member, you are a leader in this church. Generations of First United Methodist Church members have honored the tradition of investing in the future by having faith that God will work through that investment for the glory of His kingdom.
I already tithe. Why should I give to a capital campaign?
First, thank you for tithing! Your tithe sustains the missions and ministries of the church’s annual budget. Costs for the construction project cannot be funded by the annual budget. In order to both fund this campaign and continue the ongoing ministry of FUMC, additional funding is needed.
Why should we spend funds on a sanctuary renovation?
The sanctuary is the center of our traditional worship—Easter, Christmas, baptisms, weddings, funerals, and weekly worship. It has been twenty years since the last renovation and the space is once again in need of care. The worship and music program is enjoyed by all members and has a 98% approval rating (TAG survey). It is our experience with each other and before God in worship that inspires all of our giving. In a very real sense, an investment in the future of worship is a sound investment in future giving to all our missions and ministries.
Will there be a cross in front of the new organ case?
Yes. Terry Eason, Liturgical Designer, will design a cross which will be suspended in front of the organ case.
Where will worship be held during the renovations?
We plan to begin in May 2019 and the work will last three to four months. We will hold sanctuary services in the gymnasium.
What are the different ways I can give to meet my pledge goal? I don’t tithe. How can I be expected to give to the capital campaign?
If you have not found a way to establish a regular giving pattern in the form of a tithe, this is a great opportunity for you to do so. Start by giving a small monthly amount to the Generations Campaign – $5-10 per month, for example. You will be surprised at how quickly you become accustomed to a regular pattern of giving, and how fulfilling it will be to continue regular giving to the church once the campaign is complete. This may seem difficult at first, but we encourage you to pray about it and consider how you can support this worthy effort.
Who gets to make the decisions on how the money pledged is spent?
The Church Council has voted to renovate the sanctuary. The renovation committee serves to collaborate with leading architects and engineers to formulate plans and designs for this project. We are fortunate to have extremely knowledgeable and experienced members serving in that capacity.
I gave to the last capital campaign. Why should I give to this one?
Over the years our congregation has had several capital campaigns to improve our facilities, including the original construction of the Sanctuary, adding the Aldrich Chapel building, the Adult Building, the Children’s Building, the renovation of the Spiritual Formation Center, and most recently, the new Youth Building and Conference Center. In the last 92 years, there have been at least three sanctuary renovations. Our thriving congregation is a testament to the success of past campaigns, and we feel this one is no different. Generations of First United Methodist Church members have honored the tradition of investing in the future by having faith that God will work through that investment for the glory of His kingdom.
How can I stay informed about the progress?