Church hopes to raise funds for new building

The site of the Foothills United Methodist Church's planned new facility is shown on Friday. The church will be starting up a fundraising campaign on Feb. 18 for the new building, roughly a decade after construction halted on the previous one. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

The site of the Foothills United Methodist Church's planned new facility is shown on Friday. The church will be starting up a fundraising campaign on Feb. 18 for the new building, roughly a decade after construction halted on the previous one. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Foothills United Methodist Church has again began fundraising to construct a new building on Route 30A, roughly a decade after work stopped on previous plans for a new site.

The church will begin a GoFundMe kickoff campaign on Feb. 18. The kickoff will last 40 days to coincide with Lent.

The original plan called for a new 27,000-square-foot building across from where the Walmart Supercenter stands today and next to the Burger King. Construction began on the project but was halted in 2008 due to the Great Recession and the death of the church’s pastor.

Since then, the congregation has reconsidered its initial plans and is now ready to move forward with an altered building plan and a new campaign.

Campaign member Dick Sears said designs for the new facility have been in-the-works for two years. The new plans call for an 11,500-square-foot facility with an “Adirondack design.”

The site of the Foothills United Methodist Church's planned new facility is shown on Friday. The church will be starting up a fundraising campaign on Feb. 18 for the new building, roughly a decade after construction halted on the previous one. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

The site of the Foothills United Methodist Church's planned new facility is shown on Friday. The church will be starting up a fundraising campaign on Feb. 18 for the new building, roughly a decade after construction halted on the previous one. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

The church changed architects to one out of Schenectady for the new design after previously working with a New York City-based designer.

Besides the main worship area, there will also be classrooms, a kitchen, pastor’s office, secretaries’ office and a conference room Sears said.

Sears said the new design will allow for more flexibility and better use. He said currently, there are stairs to access the sanctuary and the locations of the bathrooms can make usage hard for those with mobility issues. The new building will be all one level, allowing the sanctuary to be accessed by all visitors with ease.

The proposed facility will also have various features that will allow for a wider variety of uses. Sears said the chairs will be movable, allowing for various configurations for events such as concerts.

“We think we can offer a wider variety of ministries. New churches today are built with more flexibility and things can change. Things aren’t necessarily stuck in one thing,” he said.

In addition, the new facility will be more energy efficient than the current location.

There are two structures partially up at the site. Sears said the main focus will be on the front part, since that is what people see when they drive by. He said the back part may be made into something later on as the ministry evolves.

Sears said the plan is to reuse much of the material that is currently up on the site.

Sears said the planned entrance for the building will be near the main entrance for the Burger King restaurant. He said there may be another entrance further down in the future.

Sears said there is no firm date for construction yet, since they need the funds first.

Parishioner Deir-tra Baker said Foothills United Methodist has decided to go with a GoFundMe campaign for the 40 day kickoff, but will continue to fundraise through the year. The campaign will be titled “Champion of Love.”

Baker said the new church will be a haven for a new generation to use as a place of refuge.

“I just know what I get out of it and that is the welcoming and the refilling of my spirit everyday and every Sunday,” Baker said. “Any time I donate to the church I know I’m doing good somewhere.”

Sears said the campaign will include a roughly 17-minute video looking at the past of the project as well as the future. He said there will be diagrams of the initial 2000’s project as well as two that were proposed for the new one.

He said it will be structured like a boxing match with various rounds and will feature the song “Champion of Love” by the Cathedrals quartet which the church was given permission to use.

She said those who may not be comfortable with using the internet can send donations directly to the church or stop by at 17 Fremont St. She said check memos can say “building fund” or “GoFundMe” to designate them for this campaign.

Sears said one of the factors that played into the decision to restart the project now are two covenant agreements on building a new church.

The first occurred when the First Methodist of Gloversville and the First Methodist in Johnstown merged.

The two churches agreed to build a new church when they merged. Then when the Fremont Street location joined the merger as well, another covenant to build a new church was created.

“We had a double covenant that we were going to build a new church in place of these churches that are really inefficient,” Sears said. “It came about that we needed to fulfill this covenant. So we said we need to do this.”

For more information about the church go to: www.foothillsunitedmethodist.org.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

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