Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Memphis breaks ground for new building to 'grow forward'


TOP PHOTO: Groundbreaking for new building on campus of Emmanuel United Methodist Church is attended by family and friends, all socially distanced and wearing masks. BOTTOM PHOTO: From left are Armie Haines, charter member representing all church members; Isabella Johnston representing youth; and Bill McWatters, chair of the Vision Team and Building Committee. (Submitted photos)

Emmanuel United Methodist Church (UMC) in Memphis, Tennessee, broke ground for a new building on Aug. 30, according to a media release from the church, located on the southeast side of Memphis, TN.

The event was live-streamed so all members could witness the live event that required social distancing and the wearing of masks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Emmanuel’s new vision statement, adopted in 2019, 'to be A Growing and Vital Community Where Christ is Transforming Lives,' has been the driving force that has guided our efforts.” said Rev. Dr. Wade Cox, senior minister. “The world has changed over these past five months, but our vision has not. We are ready to be ‘Growing Forward’ by making this vision a reality!  We are now ready to change lives, impact families and better connect to the neighborhood.”
Nine years ago, a vision team was created to faithfully discern the ministry possibilities God is leading and equipping the congregation to engage.
Some of the solutions in Emmanuel’s plan will:
  • Offer multiple ministry opportunities for discipleship by freeing up the gym and building a Fellowship Hall.
  • Provide a new kitchen that is functional and hospitable.
  • Create dedicated space for all age level ministries, family celebrations and community gatherings.
  • Provide a new community room and designated space for the food pantry to better serve the missional needs of the neighborhood.
  • Enhance access between floors with an elevator.
  • Create a youth and age level area that allows space for future ministry growth.
Fourteen months ago, through the action of a charge conference, a building committee was established to plan and implement these imagined possibilities. Emmanuel UMC began a capital campaign with the theme, "Growing Forward," to expand the church's journey to be more engaged in the mission and ministry to the congregation and the community to live their mission of "Loving God and Loving Neighbor" a greater reality.
Dr. David Comperry, former senior minister to Emmanuel UMC, posted on Facebook, “This groundbreaking represents an expansive vision at a time when the church might have "hunkered down," … It is a concrete expression of what God is calling Emmanuel to be, not what fears and uncertainty about our world might tempt it to be.”
The church’s new addition is expected to take about a year to complete.