It’s an exciting time on Huron River Drive as Dexter United Methodist Church finishes up their lengthy construction project and you are invited to come and check out the results.
DUMC is hosting their Grand Opening for the new facility this weekend, Fri. Jan. 11, from 4-8 pm and Sat. Jan. 12, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The effort began several years ago when DUMC set about determining how they could better serve their immediate community. After much analysis and discussion, it was decided to expand their current campus into a place that better reflected community interests and needs at large.
What it boiled down to was the addition of a large multi-purpose room, since dubbed “Newkirk Commons” as a nod to a tradition going back to the former Newkirk Boy Scout Camp which the church had originally purchased twenty years ago. The new facility has been designed as with recreation, dinners, meetings, and other events where folks may need a larger space than is currently available in the immediate area.
“Dexter United Methodist Church has been working toward this moment for about four years,” says Carl Espy, Director of Administration. “The staff and membership are eager to introduce our new facilities to one and all, and we look forward to seeing members of the community here not only for the Grand Opening but in all the days ahead!”
With the Dexter Community’s love for exercise and sports in the forefront of their thinking, DUMC designed a recreational space large enough for two basketball courts and is prepped for a variety of other sports and activities. Basketball, pickle ball, yoga, mindfulness, and walking are a few of the activities that have already been organized and scheduled.
Other immediate uses for the new building are what you would expect from a church – funeral dinners, wedding receptions, and other such celebrations. These are all events the church has always offered to both members and non-members, but as the area has grown, DUMC found their former facilities too small to adequately provide what folks needed.
“We get a lot of folks who are not connected with any contacting us for help with such events,” says Senior Pastor Dr. Matt Hook. “We know those times can sometimes be difficult and we just want to be there to help people when they need it.”
After a two-year planning and fundraising effort, DUMC submitted their plans to Webster Township in August of 2017. After working through the details, tweeks, and requirements of the township, the church got approval in November and construction began soon after. Down came the old boy scout hall, Newkirk Lodge, and up went Newkirk Commons.
At one time in our history, churches were considered the center of activity for a community. Town meetings, social gatherings, performances, and even elections were often held in churches due to their design conducive for speaker and audience. Times have certainly changed, but DUMC is hoping to once again fill the need as a place for people to come together as a community.
This weekend there will be facility tours, cooking demonstrations in the new commercial kitchen, sports, and activities for the kids. The new café will be providing refreshments.
Pastor Hook says,
“We are committed to being a church for our whole community. Jesus said, ‘For God so loved the whole world…’ One hundred and fifty plus years ago, the church was seen as semi-public property. We want to restore that. Today, in our high-tech, low touch world, there is an epidemic of loneliness, which can feel very dark and very empty. We want to speak into that darkness with the light of love and care and fellowship and community: fun even. Joy is a part of the gift of God to us, and we want to help people reclaim that, along with meaning, purpose and involvement. Rethink Church. We have.”
Consider yourself invited.
Where: Dexter United Methodist Church, 7643 Huron River Dr.
When: Friday, Jan. 11, 4-8 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 12, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. with ribbon cutting at 12:30.