A vision that first began in 1995 took a step closer to becoming reality Sunday as Richmond Hill United Methodist Church broke ground on a new 14,000-square-foot ministry center.
Senior Pastor Dr. Glenn Martin said church members first discussed the need for the expansion two decades ago, but became serious about it some three years ago.
"The funny thing is, the discussions in 1995 had the location in the exact same spot as where we’re going to build," Martin said.
The new ministry center will include a fellowship hall, a commercial kitchen, worship space for contemporary services, a youth center and office space. The project will also include modifications to the current church buildings, including an enclosed walkway connecting the two.
The expansion will cost $3.65 million and take about 10 months to complete.
"We started with a visioning process about three years ago to come up with a plan for our entire property," Martin said. "As we talked about everything that entails, our needs became apparent. Richmond Hill is growing and we’re growing right along with it."
The ceremonial groundbreaking took place after the church’s 11 a.m. service. Martin was joined by Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler; UMC Coastal District Superintendent Wayne Mosely; parishioner Mary Ann Henderson, chairperson of the building committee; and parishioner Bob May, chairperson of the finance committee.
Also present were Pat Kase of the Aspen Group, a design/build firm that specializes in church projects, and Brian Felder of Felder & Associates, an architectural firm out of Savannah.
It will be a busy summer of construction around RHUMC as retail space that could feature a Starbucks and a sandwich shop is being built next to the church on the corner of Ford Avenue and Rushing Street.