Dickson UMC Receives $10,000 Grant for Christian Life Center

By Cindy Solomon

Thanks in part to a grant from the Golden Cross Foundation, construction is underway on the new Christian Life Center at Dickson (Tennessee) First United Methodist Church. When complete, the center’s elevator will provide persons with limited mobility easier access to the sanctuary in the original building.

Dickson (Tennessee) First United Methodist Church received a $10,000 grant from the Golden Cross Foundation, a non-profit corporation and extension ministry of the Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church. Money from this grant is being used toward a new multipurpose facility that’s under construction.

Currently, access to the church’s sanctuary and an older adult Sunday school classroom is extremely limited. “The only way you can enter the sanctuary is via stairs or a long external ramp requiring a walk of over 120 feet from the nearest parking spot,” said Bruce Slagle, building team chair at Dickson FUMC.

“In addition, access to restroom facilities from the sanctuary is via stairs or external ramp. Because of these limitations, it is extremely challenging for older adult church members and attendees to attend church worship services and programs.”

The new Christian Life Center will address these limitations and provide additional space for even more programs and ministries. “The facility will have a multipurpose gym, kitchen, and three-story connector link to the sanctuary,” said Slagle. A new ramp and handicap parking within 40 feet of the center will provide easy access to the lower level of the center. The lower level itself will contain restrooms, classrooms, a lobby, and an elevator. The elevator will provide access to all levels of the existing building: lower level, fellowship hall; main level, sanctuary; and upper level, balcony and classroom.

A new restroom accommodating persons with mobility issues is also being added near the sanctuary. “The additions and improvements will allow anyone with limited mobility, especially our older adult members and visitors, to fully participate in all ministries and programs within the church,” said Slagle.

During the two decades of planning preceding the actual building and renovating, church members saw God at work. “God was present in the congregation’s conversations about our mission, vision, and how we will impact the world around us,” said the Rev. Steven Lee, pastor of Dickson First UMC. “As we have dreamed, planned, and executed this project, we have worked to keep the mission of The United Methodist Church—Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world—at the forefront of all we do.”

Part of the planning process included sharing congregation members’ visions for how the center would be used with community members and getting their input on needs and opportunities. “Residents are now seeing that something is going on at Dickson First UMC,” Lee said. “They are excited about the promise of community events, a safe place to meet, and the ability to gather together in fellowship, mission, and community building.”

“We are extremely grateful for the Golden Cross Foundation grant that is helping make the Christian Life Center a reality. These much-needed improvements will make Dickson First more welcoming, safe, and accessible for all who walk through our doors.”