LAKEWOOD RANCH — As the Rev. Steve Price cruised down the hallway of Harvest United Methodist Church, he couldn’t help but smile.
New leather chairs line the hallway, while others are clumped together to provide more intimate places for coffee and conversation. Further down, boxes litter the open floor, bearing testimony to the things that still must get done by the end of the week.
“We’re full-steam ahead now,” he said.
This Sunday, members and guests of the church will see this new 15,000-square-foot expansion for the first time in its finished form. Price said an open house and lunch will follow the 10:30 a.m. service. A special consecration service for the building will follow at about 12:45 p.m.
“It’ll be the first chance for the congregation to walk over and tour the facility and see it completed,” Price said, noting its first official day for use will be Aug. 30.
The new facility, which will be called the West Wing, includes a new nursery suite for infant and preschool-aged children with five classrooms and a centralized check-in area. Elementary-age children and youth will continue to use existing classrooms.
A second level provides additional meeting space for adult Bible studies on Sunday mornings and throughout the week as well as a lounge area for socializing, space for music ministry rehearsals and an office for Samaritan Counseling. The upstairs rooms also will be available for group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and will provide space for homeless families seeking shelter through the Interfaith Hospitality Network, a collaboration of local churches that take turns hosting homeless families at their facilities.
Restrooms on the second floor include showers, which can be used by visiting youth groups, men participating in Harvest’s future morning basketball league and families participating in the Interfaith Hospitality Network program, Price said.
Harvest’s existing 30,000- square-foot building includes a 750-seat worship center, offices, a fellowship area and 10 classrooms for children’s ministry, Sprouts Preschool and adult Bible studies.
“We have maxed out our space,” Price said. “We’re having to squeeze small groups into every nook and cranny we could find, especially for adults. We also are bursting at the seams with small children.”
Since Jan. 1 alone, 15 babies have been born into the Harvest family, co-pastor Catherine Fluck Price said. Enrollment for Sprouts Preschool is already full, and the program will be using three of the new nursery classrooms during the week.
Sunday’s opening event comes at perfect timing for the church, which usually has a kickoff campaign for small group Bible studies this time of year in conjunction with the start of school, Price said.
“It’s a great tie-in because (Bible studies) are a big component of that (new) space,” Price said.
The roughly $3.4 million project is the first of several phases of expansion planned for the church should the need arise.
The co-pastors said they are most excited about watching people grow deeper in their faith because more Bible studies will be offered in the new space and by the number of young couples coming to the church.
Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].
Harvest Open House
WHEN: After the 10:30 a.m. service, Aug. 23
WHERE: Harvest United Methodist Church, 14305 Covenant Way
INFORMATION: 907-7333 or visit www.harvest-umc.org