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On June 4, 2023 the Palmyra United Methodist Church will move to their new home at 1800 S. Main.
A community open house and ice cream social will be a few weeks later on June 25 from 1 to 3 p.m.
This is the end of long journey that began many years ago.
Over 30 years ago, there was talk about building a new building, but every time the issue came up, it was quickly dismissed.
In the summer of 2008, Pastor Eric Anderson arrived in Palmyra, and within a couple of weeks, two people gave him a tour of the city and mentioned that the congregation was ready for a new church building.
Over the next several months Pastor Anderson asked around and began exploring the options.
Every option that was shared with Pastor Anderson was presented:
1) stay in the existing building;
2) tear down the existing building and rebuild at the current site;
3) relocate to a new site;
4) stay and build an additional second site;
5) rebuild at the existing site and at a new site; and
6) close and join a church in the Hannibal area.
While no one voted to close the church, two choices were made clear by the poll: stay in the existing building or relocate to a new location.
In 2010 ballots were mailed out to all members regarding the future expansion of the church to either remain at the current location or
The vote was 51 to stay in the current building, 52 to relocate.
With the spilt vote, the church leadership felt both options needed to be explored.
A committee was formed to examine the current building. An architect and structural engineer was brought in to help assess the condition of the building.
This study was completed in the summer of 2011.
A second group was then formed to explore the need for a new building. They spent several months meeting with church and community leaders, assessing needs, assets and liabilities.
The team concluded that there were serious concerns about the ability of the current building to meet the current and future needs of the church and community, and the Palmyra United Methodist Church must either change their expectations for ministry or change their building.
In August 2012, after exploring the two options, the congregation took a vote to decide what direction to go, and they elected to relocate the church and formed a building committee.
Nine sites were initially selected for a new building and various members of the team examined each one. Then the committee received a gift of 10 acres on the west side of down on Ross Street.
As the committee spent several months working through all the legal details and restrictions of the land gift another property appeared on the market.
In April of 2016, the congregation had their third vote, to decide which of the two sites to build on and they elected to purchase the property on South Main.
With the site purchased, selecting a building designs and financing the construction was the next concern.
Multiple building plans were explored.
The goal was for the building to be accessible, flexible in use, and expandable. The team also hired the services of a capital campaign consultant.
In November 2018, the congregation voted to approve a fundraising campaign and phase one of construction which was the exterior shell.
Groundbreaking was held Oct. 13, 2019, and construction on the exterior of the building started.
Meanwhile, the congregation was involved in the “Set the Table” financial campaign. People pledged over $700,000 over the next three years.
Construction was slowed due to weather, but the exterior was completed in August 2020, and was completely paid for in October 2020.
People of the church began fundraising for the interior of the building, and in the fall of 2021, work began on the interior walls and was completed the following spring.
In October 2022, the congregation voted for a second financial campaign to finish the interior. Construction began immediately after the vote and has continued throughout the year.
Meanwhile the second financial campaign has pledged over $750,000.
Originally construction was to be completed around Easter. Due to changes in design and supply issues the project has taken longer than expected and will not be totally completed by June 4.
The church community does hope to have the building completed by June 25 for the community open house.
“God has moved in these people’s lives and they have done amazing things,” says Pastor Eric Anderson, “It is our hope that we have created something good for the Palmyra community; a place where people can discover the love of God.”