In the last couple of months, there’s been a mound of dirt at 2163 Routes 36/37 East in Brown Township. More recently, gravel has been put down and a cross placed on top of the mound.
“The funny thing is, I don’t know who put the cross up there,” said Dave Carter, lead pastor at New Beginnings United Methodist Church at 385 E. William St. (formerly known as Grace UMC at The Point).
New Beginnings will relocate its church 1.5 miles to the east onto the property, which it owns.
“Phase one is basic land development, with a water retention pond, drainage, utilities and a parking lot,” Carter said. “We’ll move the mound and improve access.”
Construction could begin later this year, Carter said. However, don’t expect to see a traditional church with a sanctuary and classrooms. Carter said it will resemble a pavilion enclosed with glass looking out onto the property, to be used for worship and other purposes.
“We’re trying to be a part of the community. We want to give back and support some of the local causes,” said Jake King, youth development/community relations pastor. He said New Beginnings, which already sponsors the Turkey Trot run that benefits the Autism Society of Central Ohio, could host more arts, sports, gardening and other activities.
“We shouldn’t say, that’s our space. We should say, how can we use this so everyone in our community benefits,” Carter said. “A lot of times churches are stuck at looking where they’ve been, instead of saying where are we going and what does God want to do with us. Otherwise, we’re just picking this up and moving it over there. We’re trying to do ministry in a different way.”
The existing building is for sale, Carter said. He thought the site would be good for a daycare or a small business. Although the church is more than 100 years old, it has had several building additions, and it did not have historical value. However, Carter said he hoped to work with the new owner to preserve some of the church.
Carter said he was appointed to be pastor at the church eight years ago with the idea that it would be relocated.
“Someone’s going to have to let go of this to create something new out there,” Carter said.
“A lot of people love this church because they grew up in it, but so much of the older generation are excited about the opportunity for us to move and build,” King said. “I’ve heard a lot of them say, it’s not for us, it’s for the younger generation. It seems like the vast majority are on board.”
The move has prompted the church to reflect on its mission and to change its name, which was chosen from a poll of Delaware residents.
“People want new beginnings, second chances, fresh starts, hope – that’s what the name communicates,” Carter said.