ENTERPRISE — The members of Kline Memorial United Methodist Church joined together to celebrate a milestone on Sunday. They gathered for the first groundbreaking since 1965 for an addition to the building.
The church sits majestically in the center of a rural village. It’s a welcoming sign to visitors who drive through the main area of town. Kline Memorial United Methodist Church maintains its traditional Gothic style architecture and has a smaller 1960’s style addition perched on the side.
Within only weeks, an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, ease of accessibility addition will be added to the side of the church for anyone coming and going.
In a $200,000 project, a lift for wheelchairs or less-mobile people will be installed. And, a main entrance with a new reception area and additional stairs will give complete access to all three levels from the parking lot level.
An accessibility committee has been working on the plan and funding for the past year with great success. During the ceremony, Pastor Mike Adkins thanked the congregation and leadership for hard work and getting an unanimous vote to do the work. He then pointed out that the amount donated was $111,000.
Pastor Adkins, John Walker, Bill Mauck, Todd Hinerman, Frank Stewart, Dana Reinchell, and Bob Lingo were all instrumental as the committee members.
“We want to make the church accessible to a greater number of people and see people come to know you (Jesus Christ) as a personal savior from what we’re doing here today,” prayed Pastor Adkins.
Kline Memorial United Methodist Church has had a ramp available for years; however, it spirals upward from the parking lot level to the sanctuary level. Anyone wanting to leave the sanctuary level currently has to leave the building, go down the two-story ramp and re-enter the lower levels from outside. Ease of access is not part of this current set-up.
The general contractor, Nelson Delong of Laurelville, will oversee the project. Demolition is set to begin within the next few weeks while state permits are being are being processed.
The regular church activities will continue as planned throughout the building during the renovation.
A dedication ceremony to celebrate the finished work will be announced as the project is coming to an end.
A church population of only about 90 members doesn’t seem like many, but Kline Memorial United Methodist Church sees about 60 guests on Sunday mornings. Of those guests, many will have a much easier time getting in and out of the sanctuary after this project.
Although the ADA does not apply to churches, some churches have adopted the act’s accessibility standards for public accommodations, according to www.cga.ct.gov.
President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990. “The ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services,” as reported at www.abilityministry.com.
As the congregation sang the chorus, “We are standing on holy ground, and I know that there are angels all around....,” the ceremony was coming to an end.
The committee with shovels in hand, each dug into the soil to symbolize the beginning of a new initiative.
The church is located at 28996 Enterprise Iles Road in Enterprise.