There’s a new address on the Girard United Methodist Church bulletin.

There’s a new address on the Girard United Methodist Church bulletin.

The congregation had its first service Oct. 17 in the new building at 614 W. St. John. Dedication services will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday.

“We’ll have special music, and the Rev. Janet Maxwell, our Parsons District superintendent, will be a guest,” said Pastor Steve Cole.

The congregation’s previous home was an impressive Tudor Gothic style structure which was dedicated in 1915. It was doomed by severe damage from an ice storm in 2006.

Pastor Cole said that structural engineers who examined the old church said the roof structure was totally destroyed and could collapse at any time.

Roger Breneman, who has served as church board president, sees this calamity as possibly God’s will, since there was already some feeling that a new building was needed.

“I did not want to be the one to do away with the old church because I had been there forever,” he said. “Then the ice storm happened.”

Following a farewell service in April 2009, the old church was demolished. The congregation was without a permanent home for three years.

“The First Presbyterian Church just gave us their church, and rearranged their services to give us our own service time there,” Breneman said. “They were wonderful.”

Then the congregation found the property at 614 W. St. John and determined a design for the new church.

“The Carl Junction United Methodist had this design, and we decided this was what we want,” Pastor Cole said.

He said the new building has 8,711 square feet of space, which includes the sanctuary, six classrooms, restrooms, a nursery, office space, a kitchen and a front welcome center which gives a feeling of space with its high ceiling and glass entrance.

“The building is not big, but it’s functional,” Breneman said. “And the area behind the church has already been packed down should we need an expansion.”

it was built by Joplin Construction Design and Management Church Builders.

“We’ve had a lot of good workers who put in a lot of hours,” Breneman said. “The women have worked very hard on the kitchen.”

There are still some finishing touches to be done, including installing ceiling fans and putting stained glass windows in the sanctuary, not to mention some landscaping and work on the parking lot.

But congregation members still seemed pleased with the new church after the Oct. 17 service.

“We’re kind of proud,” said Bill Gifford. “A lot of work was involved, but it’s come to fruition.”

“I like the new church very much,” said Matthew Taylor, a student at the University of Kansas Medical Center. “I think it turned out very well, and I hope I can get home more often to attend church with my family.”