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New family life center brings congregation together
02.03 rumc-larry bird
Rev. Larry Bird speaks to those in attendance about the church's unified front. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

It was a day many of the members of Rincon United Methodist Church had been dreaming of, the Rev. Larry Bird said to those gathered in the Family Life Center.

The church consecrated the 16,500 square foot building Sunday, which was built by Cogan of Bluffton, S.C.

“What this represents to us is unification,” Bird said. “We had not been unified prior to building this. It represents a unified front.”

Bird said many church members had been opposed to the building, and the church lost membership because of it. But even those opposed to it originally, such as James Sapp, are no longer against it.

“(I) stand here today to tell you I am 100 percent behind it,” Sapp told the gathering.

The church’s pastor recognized that sentiment.

“Now that it’s done,” Bird said, “we are a unified body. That’s the biggest thing to me.”

The building has been in use already, with the Upward basketball program and a non-traditional worship service on Sunday mornings.

The first Easter sunrise service was held on the grounds on April 16, 2006, and the church held a groundbreaking on Nov. 5, 2006. As part of the groundbreaking ceremonies that day, church members held a balloon launch, with strips of paper bearing prayers written by church youth in each balloon.

As the church began to work on the building, church members fashioned a cross of railroad ties and bound it together with metal spikes.

“It was painful to drive in those spikes, because of what they represent,” said Ron Russell.

The consecration included a ceremonial handing of the keys from the building contractor to Jay Neurath, the chairman of the church’s building committee.

“There is power in this place,” said Marshall Howell, Savannah District superintendent for the South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. “It took tremendous courage for the Rincon United Methodist Church to move forward, and it will take tremendous courage to continue.”