The First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Huntsville, Alabama completed the final phase of renovations at its new location. Just five months after occupying their new 54,000 square foot worship complex at 1303 Evangel Drive, the church celebrated the grand opening of the Youth Center December 7, 2013. Located on the lower level, the center is designed to provide a safe environment for socializing and offers a creative learning atmosphere to grow the faith of young people.
The well-attended dedication service held during the ministerial meetings at Oakwood University featured Key speakers, music and talent. South Central Conference president Dana Edmond praised the church for its vision and ministry to young people. Pastor Damon Hendrickson from the Midland Heights SDA Church in Bermuda gave a thought provoking charge.
The fully renovated 5500 square foot hub is a state-of-the-art facility that contains male and female lavatories, the latest audio/visual and wireless Internet capabilities, an 80 seat Chapel area with fireplace, game area furnished with hockey, foosball and ping-pong table, a multifunctional retractable wall, and a kitchen with brand-new appliances. According to Senior Pastor, Debleaire Snell, the center is a high tech safe facility where young people of our church and community can come, not only to receive spiritual nurture, but also enjoy many positive recreational opportunities in a stylish and comfortable space for which they can be proud. For youth ministries who wish to hold meetings in the center, the center also has a conference room that seats 20 people.
The Center, made possible through financial gifts from a host of partners and friends is for the ever expanding group of young people between the ages of 13 and 19. Church member, Stanley McCall who is CEO and Founder of MEDS provided funds to cover the cost for architectural design and renovations. Furnishings were provided by the First Church Investment Department under the leadership of Marlow Frances.
According to Lamont Dupree, the First Church Youth Ministries director, the Center allows youth to use their free time constructively as they interact positively with peers and connect with caring adults who listen. Youth will also participate in fun group activities that teach positive decision making skills and acceptance of consequences for their actions. “First of all, it’s not about the center itself,” said Dupree. “it’s about the ministry that goes on between those walls. I see this space as an evangelistic tool for young people in the community who may not be familiar with a formal church setting. It affords the opportunity to build stronger relationships with young people that may be on the fringes of spiritual things. It will also serve as a means to motivate active youth who seek a stronger connection with the church.”
The Youth Center is for the exclusive use and service of young people and will provide a way to creatively minister to them spiritually. The church anticipates its youth will also use the space to plan, strategize and take ownership of various activities of the church using it as a training center to build skills for spiritual success and meaningful service.