LAWRENCEVILLE - For Lawrenceville First United Methodist Church, Sunday marked a new era in the history of one of Gwinnett's oldest churches.
Lawrenceville FUMC celebrated the grand opening of its new wing, the Gibson Wing, and its new building, the Choir Suite, Sunday with tours and light refreshments. Regular worship was supplemented with prayer services and information sessions for children and youth by the youth director.
The new Gibson Wing, named in honor of the late Dr. Douglas Gibson, a former Senior Emeritus Pastor at FUMC, contains three stories. The first, located three feet below ground level, houses youth. The second is designed for children's worship, while the third is an adult education space. The building is wired for Wi-Fi.
The first floor, The Warehouse, named by the youth for its high ceilings, features two industrial garage doors which separate the small bistro from the modern worship space. The youth administrative offices are now housed there, in two mezzanines overlooking the stage.
The youth congregation at FUMC helped in the architectural design process, and the result is "not what you'd expect," said Senior Minister Dr. Davis Chappell. "(The youth) have a part of themselves that has already been invested in that."
The children's worship space on the second floor has projection capability and a sound system. There are Sunday School rooms and conference rooms, children's worship administrative offices and a kitchen area.
The third floor, the adult education space, features seven classrooms and a large seminar room equipped with new technology.
On the Lawrenceville Highway side of the building, the walls of one of the older wings were collapsed to create a new choir suite that attaches to the rest of the building.
Further renovations on portions of the old building have yielded a larger prayer room and a new library.
In all, the renovations and expansion totaled $6.5 million, raised through a capital campaign. The church continues to accept donations to finance the vision started six years ago.
"In essence, we've built more worship space for different groups," Chappell said. "We are hoping to have worship opportunities for young adults, maybe during the week. With GGC (Georgia Gwinnett College) here, we feel the need to move toward a ministry for college-age and young adults and (to provide) a place and time for them to worship."
The Gibson Wing will also host community programs.
"One of the things I love about Lawrenceville is that they understand that faith is both (spiritual) and social," he added.
For more information about Lawrenceville FUMC, visit www.fumclv.org.