New Addition to Local Church

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

Take a step onto the corner of 10th Street and 24th Avenue in downtown Meridian and there is reason to pause. Members of Meridian's First Presbyterian Church finally had the chance to dedicate the new addition to their facility. Now there were problems along the way.

"Water was probably our number one enemy during the entire construction," explains Alan Gartrell, the Chairman of the Church Building Committee.

But after two years, builders and church members triumphed through those issues. They had a specific goal in mind they wanted to achieve.

"The church from the outset when they commissioned us, said that they wanted this building to match and to work with what was there. If they couldn't do that they didn't want to build it. That was really music to our ears. They wanted to do it right and they did," says BB Archer, one of the architects.

Doing it right came with high expectations. Church members, like Gartrell, had a clear vision of what they wanted the addition to bring.

"An elevator was certainly at the top of the list, restrooms were a high priority because being a 100 year old church we were very short on facilities in that area, and with the growing youth population, of course the educational wing was a top priority on the list as well," says Gartrell.

Now this expansion is the first in roughly 56 years. Rhett Payne, Pastor of Meridian's First Presbyterian church, believes this leap of faith speaks volumes for a church that has lasted almost an entire century.

"It's a tremendous tribute to the congregation and to its leaders that they were willing to take this step. A lot of churches wouldn't do it. We're excited that our congregation was willing," exclaims Payne.

The completed addition of today is likely not the last for the church. Gartrell expects more to come in the future.

"The first and foremost thing that we were looking for if I remember correctly, was a family life center. In fact that will be the theme of our next expansion we hope that will come in the next three years."

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