Lake Norman & Mooresville

Church dedicates center

Founded in 1891, Webbs Chapel United Methodist Church will dedicate its new 14,000-square-foot Family Life Center on Sept. 11.

Construction on the facility, envisioned as a way to provide a greater range of services to the congregation and the local community, was begun in October 2009.

The capital stewardship campaign, lasting three years, was designated as "Reaching Out and Sharing the Vision." A subsequent campaign to support ongoing funding was entitled "Imagine the Possibilities."

The cost of the project is just under $1.5 million.

The Rev. John Love, Webbs Chapel minister, sees financial support for the Family Life Center as "sacrificial giving, since as Christians, we are called to support the ministry of the church. The core idea, mission and ministry, is a way of fulfilling our call to enhance our ministry to the people of the congregation and to reach out to minister to the needs of the community at large."

In addition to a large multipurpose room equipped with multi-media capabilities, the facility has a commercial kitchen and restrooms with showers. The design of the center took into account the possibility of its being used as an emergency community shelter in the event of a catastrophic event.

As well as providing opportunities for larger group worship, the multi-purpose room lends itself to various youth sports. Three classrooms are available for Sunday school classes as well as adult education, and other community groups will be allowed to use the classrooms as a meeting space.

A prominent feature of the Family Life Center is the large, circular stained glass window behind the stage in the multi-purpose room.

It was donated to the church by long-time congregant Nellie Harkey to honor the memory of her daughter, Billie Jo Drum, who died of cancer at the age of 56 in 2007.

The window, designed and fabricated by Salem Stained Glass near Winston-Salem depicts Jesus surrounded by little children.

"I wanted children around Jesus," said Harkey, "because my daughter had a passion for ministering to young children."

Drum taught math at Tuttle Middle School in Maiden for 30 years. She also played the piano and the organ at Webbs Chapel for 40 years, beginning at the age of 16. She was active in the women's group, sang in the choir for many years, and taught Sunday school.

The dedication of the facility will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 11. The community is invited.

"We want to be able to thank the community for its on-going support," said Love. "We financed the kitchen in the Family Life Center with proceeds from our semi-annual fish fries."