BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
After almost two years of renovation work, Clarkston United Methodist Church is ready for a renewed focus towards the community.
“The whole motivation to do this was to continue the tradition to be central to the larger Clarkston community,” said Senior Pastor Rick Dake.
After celebrations and ribbon cuttings starting this weekend, they’ll start a new outward focus by talking to teachers, administrators, social workers, and community and business leaders.
“We’ll have two questions, what do you need, and how can we help,” Dake said. “How can we build partnerships and work with others to change the trajectory of people’s lives?”
The project included adding about 20 feet to the front of the church, new parkng lot with LED lighting, new gym, and renovations to the sanctuary, offices, and meeting rooms throughout the facility at 6600 Waldon Road.
“It was a long process,” Dake said.”We had great architects, contractors, and leadership of the congregation and church, and strong resiliency and adaptability. We’ve been continually blessed. We all rolled up our sleeves and got to work.”
During renovation work to the sanctuary, they planned to use the gym for worship services for three Sundays, but ended up using it for five-and-a-half months.
“We rolled with it. It was a great time. It taught us a lot,” he said.
“The plan was to keep the sanctuary as it was, but through the generosity of the congregation we were able to enhance it,” Dake said. “They went above and beyond. We are so blessed.”
They installed new video screens and sound system, as well as new carpeting in the main worship room of the church.
The state-of-the-art gym is fully equipped for basketball, volleyball, and pickleball, as well as banquets and other community events. Exercise programs for seniors will be offered with St. Joe’s Health and Oakland County Health experts.
The new construction added to the front of the church includes an indoor gathering space in front of the sanctuary.
“It’s a bridge to the community, a high hospitality area,” Dake said.
It also includes a new coffee shop, Grand Hallway, and additional meeting rooms.
The church’s offices, conference rooms, game room for senior high youth, and preschool classrooms were also renovated, with barrier free access throughout the building including ADA restrooms, elevator access to all levels, additional ramps, and wider hallways.
“Everything was designed for the population to be served,” Dake said.
Their Client Choice Food Pantry was also expanded, offering fresh dairy, meat, produce, baby products, paper, and other items every fourth Monday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and 5:30-7 p.m.
“It’s the best food pantry in town,” said Joyce Bleim. “It’s like a mini grocery store.”
Contact the church to sign up.
The church is busy preparing for its Building Consecration and Ministry Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
“We’ll be announcing the Hugh Rose Scholarship for the community, for people who need to go back to school for additional training and education so they can make an impact on the community,” Dake said.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with community leaders and members of the Chamber of Commerce will be on Friday, Sept. 21st at 9:30 a.m., with tours afterwards.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO