Thursday, April 26, 2007
Consecration of The Flame Sunday
By SUE WATSON
Members of the Byhalia United Methodist Church invite the community to join them in consecrating The Flame, a new Family Enrichment Center, Sunday, April 29, said Rev. Vickie White.
A youth-led service starts at 10:30 a.m. with lunch to follow and the consecration at 1 p.m.
The new addition behind the historic church will be used by the community for events and by the church youth ministries, according to Blaine Tooley, youth leader and choir director. The Flame opened Easter Sunday with over 200 in attendance.
Byhalia United Methodist Church was almost razed by a Saturday night fire on Jan. 13, 2001. An outpouring of support and prayer helped rebuild the middle section of the historic church which was totally destroyed and to restore other parts of the church that were damaged by smoke and water used to put out the blaze. The Methodists were embraced by the Byhalia First Baptist Church in the year it took to rebuild the church and held worship services in the Baptist fellowship hall. A one year anniversary service was held Jan. 13, 2002, to thank the entire community, the companies who rebuilt the church and those who helped with special reconstruction, such as the repair and replacement of stained glass.
The historic sanctuary was built in 1906 and the middle section was added in 1920.
The Flame helps the church expand its educational, recreational and spiritual space at time when the Town of Byhalia itself is positioned for an increase in population.
Tommy Woods, with the building committee, said The Flame is about 12,000 square feet. It has a fully equipped kitchen, a very large youth room, a full basketball, volley ball or tennis court, a large stage for speakers and concerts, and showers so the facility can be used in case of disaster as a shelter.
There is enough space to accommodate 625 people for worship services or programs, and seating to serve up to 500 people at one time, Woods said. There are 135 parking slips for vehicles.
“We’re very excited about it,” he said. “Our goal was to have Easter Sunrise Service in it and we did.”
The church is working on rules and policies that will govern the use of the building before it is made available to organizations as a place to hold meetings, have dinners and for other group events.
Fund-raising for The Flame began in July 2006 and the slab was poured on the last Saturday in September 2006, Woods said. Much of the material and labor for construction was donated.
“I’m glad the Lord has blessed us with something like this,” Woods said.
Vision for use of The Flame
Church member Scooter Dempsey said The Flame is already in use and activities are already being scheduled at the building.
A contemporary worship service is held every Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. and includes a continental breakfast to serve up to 200. Dress is casual and worship is wide open, Dempsey said.
“We worship wide open is one of our sayings,” he said. “It’s pretty cool. You come as you are.”
“We’ve already had ball clubs come in dressed in their uniforms and cleats, worship, eat breakfast and head on to their game.”
There is also Sunday school space for youth and recreational space where they can play games like ping pong. The Flame will also provide space for Christian concerts and youth rallies that feature Christian rock-n-roll music like that aired on K-LOVE 94.9 FM, Collierville.
Dempsey said the sound system is a Cadillac, installed by Kevin Thomas with Stix-n-Tones in Holly Springs.
“This building is going to mean a lot to the community and it’s already affecting it,” he said. “Our goal is to provide free youth concerts and let them be a part of that.
Some activities already scheduled at The Flame include the Marshall Academy Athletic Banquet, May 10; a fund-raising concert for Doug Lipscomb of Holly Springs, April 28 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m. and Prayznmor rehearsals and music writing on Wednesday evening from 6-9.
The rehearsals will include jam sessions with instruments and music writing.
“We’re looking for original stuff to do a CD,” Dempsey said.
The lineup for the Lipscomb fund-raiser includes Prayznmor, Heritage Church and The Thomas Singers and Matt Rhodes Unplugged. Rhodes is a student at the University of Memphis.
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