Pleasant Hill UMC Expands to Meet Needs of Growing Community
By Rev. Joel McMakin and Tony Carnes
Located in one of the fastest growing areas of South Carolina, Indian Land, Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church held a service of consecration for its new $2.6 million Family Life Center on June 27.
Dr. Anthony Hodge, Rock Hill District superintendent, helped officiate the service alongside the Rev. Joel McMakin, pastor. Tony Carnes and Dennis Moore, chairman and vice chairman of Pleasant Hill’s building committee, led part of the liturgy and discussed the Family Life Center and its ability to help the church further its mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ.
After consecrating the altar table, the pulpit, the baptismal font and the communion vessels, the congregation took part in a prayer walk around the facility. There were stops at each of the four corners of the facility. Church members read Scriptures and led prayers and silent prayers at each of the four corners.
The design of the Family Life Center features a half basketball court or full volleyball court, suitable for a variety of indoor recreation opportunities. There is also a fellowship hall for church meals, programs and the contemporary worship service. Large sliding doors can be opened between the fellowship hall, gym and foyer to expand the spaces for larger gatherings and events.
After the prayer walk and some closing remarks and the benediction by Hodge, the congregation was invited to enjoy some refreshments and shoot some hoops and play corn hole in the gymnasium.
Large barn style doors also allow us to close off the various rooms to allow different groups to use the facility at the same time and to expand the spaces for larger gatherings and events. There is a larger kitchen and a large foyer with soft furnishings for additional meeting space.
To date, local groups including the Indian Land Chamber of Commerce have utilized the new facility.
About the FLC
In 2008, Pleasant Hill UMC had a vision that developed into a plan for Family Life Center. Over the years of raising money, praying and planning, Pleasant Hill’s building committee recommended they downsize the original plans into a facility that was much more affordable, but also equipped to meet their ministry needs and goals.
They held the groundbreaking on March 8, 2020, two weeks before they were forced to stop in-person worship for more than three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of the challenges of 2020, the congregation gave generously to the building fund in addition to covering operating expenses and apportionments.
As they were planning, promoting and raising money for the Family Life Center, they looked to their mission and their future, but they looked to their past. They were able to incorporate into the design a bell tower over the front door to hold a 4-foot, 800-pound bell that is historic to Pleasant Hill. The bell was used in one of Pleasant Hill’s previous facilities, but when that facility was taken down, the bell was put in storage where it stayed for decades. Many church members are grateful and proud to see and hear this special bell.
The building committee worked with the technology committee to select and install modern audio visual equipment. They also installed camera systems in the Family Life Center and sanctuary that will enhance their ability to livestream worship services, giving them an improved online presence.
Their primary goal for building the Family Life Center is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by enhancing their ability to minister to people of all ages. The indoor space will provide additional opportunities for children, preschool, youth and adults for recreation, performances, meetings and meals. The new facility will be an attractive space with a Christian environment for the community to use, which will give the church opportunities to connect with more people.
Pleasant Hill’s former fellowship hall, built in the mid 1980s, will eventually be converted into additional offices and classrooms, which will provide many new spaces for existing classes and the opportunity to start new classes. In addition, there will be more space to continue service to the community through an Alzheimer’s caregivers’ support group, blood drives, high school standardized testing, homeowners’ association meetings, voting, scout functions and more.
The church’s theme verse for the project was Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
Members said they are looking forward to using the new Family Life Center in even greater ways as they open their facilities to more and more people.