Pleasant Hill UMC breaks ground on new family life center

Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church, in Indian Land in the Rock Hill District, held a groundbreaking for its new Family Life Center Sunday, March 8.

Multiple generations of members of this historic church, having served the area since the 1880s, joined together for a cookout to celebrate the long-awaited official beginning of the new 10,500-square-foot building.

District Superintendent the Rev. Joe Long, who during his eight-year tenure as district superintendent had helped shepherd the planning and approval of the building, turned the first shovel of dirt along with the Rev. Joel McMakin, Pleasant Hill pastor. Those in attendance were presented plastic shovels to commemorate the day and event. Children, the future of Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church, also turned dirt with their plastic shovels.

During the ceremonies it was noted some of those attending had been present when construction began on the current sanctuary in 1958 and many others were members and helped fund and oversee the construction of the current fellowship hall in the 1980s.

“Building this new facility is a great opportunity for Pleasant Hill to invest in their future; much like the church family did earlier when they gave sacrificially to build our current fellowship hall,” said Tony Carnes, chair of the Building Committee.

Carnes announced at the groundbreaking that committee members had pledged more than $76,000 to the upcoming 12-month campaign to reduce the future monthly payments. To date, the congregation has raised in excess of $1.5 million toward the nearly $2.8 million cost of the new building and repurposing of the fellowship hall.

Because of exploding growth in Indian Land and Lancaster County, the sixth fastest growing county in the Carolinas from 2010-2018 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019), Pleasant Hill needs the new space to extend and expand its missions and ministry.

The new facility will feature a fellowship hall that opens to a small gymnasium, a kitchen and a large foyer to encourage people to gather and build relationships with one another. A historic inclusion to the new center will be a bell tower that will house a long-stored bell from an earlier sanctuary.

The Family Life Center will afford Pleasant Hill many opportunities to develop and expand their ministry for children and youth, as well as for adults and senior adults. Once the Family Life Center is completed, Pleasant Hill will repurpose their existing fellowship hall into additional classrooms and office spaces.

Pleasant Hill uses their existing fellowship hall weekly for church and community events such as their youth, children’s and senior adult ministry programs, contemporary worship service, vacation Bible school, hosting the Catawba Salkehatchie Camp, Pleasant Hill Preschool functions, community polling location, school standardized testing, VITA Tax Preparation, homeowners association meetings, blood drives and other events.

McMakin said the church is looking forward to continuing these opportunities as well as adding others once the new building is completed.

“The new Family Life Center will help us fulfill our mission statement by ‘Reaching Out, Growing and Serving’ in ministry,” McMakin said.

The timeframe for construction for the Family Life Center is 10-11 months.

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