EDMOND — United Methodist churches in Edmond are experiencing a building boom of sorts.
New Covenant United Methodist at 2700 S Boulevard recently broke ground on a new children's building.
Church leaders said the project will include a 24,000-square-foot children's building with an indoor and outdoor playground, a larger kitchen, a renovated and expanded gymnasium and a courtyard and meditation garden.
They said the project also will include a new gathering space with a cafe-coffee bar.
The current children's area will be renovated for adult classroom space.
At Acts II United Methodist in west Edmond, construction has begun on a new worship center near the church's current building at 4848 W Covell Road.
The church held a groundbreaking ceremony in May that included a note-burning ceremony for its mortgage. The Rev. Mark Foster, Acts II's senior pastor, said the building will double the church's worship space, education area and parking lot.
First United Methodist Church, 305 E Hurd, also has an expansion project under way. The church demolished a building that formely housed the Wesley Foundation to make room for an addition that will extend the main church building to the southwest.
The new addition will feature a multipurpose room, large gathering area, elevators and a portico.
Meanwhile, Foster, who established the Acts II church in 1999, said the church has grown so much that four worship services now are being offered, and the church sent about 40 families in 2011 to plant a new church called Connect that meets at Centennial Elementary School in east Edmond.
He said the new building will be adjacent the current one, and the two will be connected by a covered walkway. Foster said the new church building will face Pennsylvania Avenue and will be close to a new Edmond elementary school being completed for a fall opening.
Foster said the new building's sanctuary will seat 500. He said about 500 people attend the church's three worship services on Sunday and a worship service held on Friday nights.
He said most of the people drawn to the ministry are newcomers to the Edmond area, with most of them moving to the area in the past 10 years. Foster said he is familiar with becoming accustomed to a new community since he moved around a lot as a preacher's son.
“We basically try to connect with them and ‘we're new here too.' We are a new church for new people,” Foster said.
Fulfilling a mission
The pastor said the new church building will help the congregation fulfill its mission.
“It's not how big our church is, it's how many people live around us who do not know the love of Christ,” he said.
“Some people are going to really connect with us and some may connect with the other churches,” Foster said. “The important thing is that they connect and go somewhere.”
Looking around at the field that will one day be the site of Acts II's new church, Foster said it was hard to imagine that the church first met in his home and later several Edmond school buildings until the congregation had grown significantly.
“When we bought the 35 acres at Penn and Covell in 1999, many folks thought we were crazy,” he said. “But we believe strongly that where God gives vision, God also gives provision to make God-inspired dreams a reality.”