Like many churches, Lowell United Methodist Church found itself suspending activities last year as a result of COVID-19. However, rather than wait idly for the pandemic to pass, church leaders have spent the last year making building improvements and refreshing their ministries.
“We decided at the beginning of COVID that we were going to do some improvements because we had some time,” explains Pastor Brad Brillhart.
Now that the work is close to being done, the community is invited to come see the fruit of their labors and enjoy a pig roast on Sunday, September 12, 2021. The day will include all the following:
- 10am – Outdoor worship service in the Avery backlot, behind the church building at 621 E. Main Street.
- 11am – After the worship service, festivities will move to the church’s front lot for a pig roast. People will also be able to tour the church building during this time.
- 1pm – The open house wraps up with a special concert from Easy Idle Band, who will play bluegrass music as well as some traditional Gospel hymns.
“This is for our own church family but also for anyone looking for a new church family,” Brillhart says. Since some of the renovations create new spaces for community use, the church hopes everyone who is able will stop by to enjoy a meal and see the building on Sunday.
Sound Check Worship Brings Contemporary Service to LUMC
After spending the summer worshipping on the Riverwalk and this week’s outside service on church grounds, the community at Lowell United Methodist Church will move back indoors on September 18. At that time, they will have two options:
- 9am – Traditional service in the main church
- 10:30am – Contemporary service held at Sound Check, in the educational building
The addition of Sound Check Worship is the most significant change at Lowell United Methodist Church and provides a unique atmosphere for Sunday services. “It’s a little more intimate of a worship experience,” according to Davin Risk, worship director.
While Sound Check will be a worship space, it will also serve as so much more. “We want this to be a place where the music scene in Lowell comes to and calls home,” Risk explains.
During the past year, the church has hosted a concert series, Sound Check Presents, and it is creating a studio that can be used by community members to record music or podcasts. They also envision the space being used for family karaoke nights, open mic events and jam sessions. Plus, music lessons are being offered in the adjoining green room.
“As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of the resources we have, and a big resource we have is this building,” Risk says.
Sound Check isn’t the first time the church space has been offered as a hub of community activity either. The gathering space in the church, which Brillhart believes dates to the 1870s, was at one time used for a gym and roller-skating.
Youth Spaces Improved and Expanded
In addition to Sound Check, those touring the Lowell United Methodist Church on Sunday will see newly renovated spaces for youth programming.
The Sunday School has been reimagined as a Kids Club with newly updated rooms, and the senior high program now has its own dedicated space for activities that will be led by a new youth minister.
“When we lost our preschool, that was sad,” Brillhart says, referring to the early education program that operated in the church for decades. However, the church has made the best of the situation by transforming the school space into a new nursery filled with toys and updated amenities.
Nursing mothers will find a comfortable room off the nursery for them to attend to their infants. And thanks to technology upgrades, a video stream of the service will be available in the room as well as in overflow spaces in the building.
Outside the nursery, beautiful butterfly wings are painted on the wall. They will eventually be joined by two smaller butterflies so parents can take photos of children of all ages. Brillhart and Risk envision the wall could even become a spot for teens to stop by for pictures before heading out to dances or other events.
Healing Hearts Recovery Ministry
Longtime members of Lowell United Methodist Church will see other changes when they return for worship inside the building. Those include a new choir director and choir, that currently has 14 people committed and another half dozen considering whether to join.
However, of all the many changes taking place at the church, Brillhart is especially pleased to be able to launch Healing Hearts. Using a renovated space in the church’s lower level, Healing Hearts will minister to anyone facing an addiction. While many recovery programs are focused on alcohol or drug dependence, this ministry is open to anyone who struggles with an addiction of any kind.
“We’ve invested a lot in the community and in our church,” Brillhart says. He hopes area residents will stop by during the Sunday, September 12, open house to see the results for themselves.
For more information, follow Lowell United Methodist Church on Facebook.