The Steeple is Coming!

Who:     First United Methodist Church

What:     Steeple raising on new sanctuary

When:     Jan. 10-12

Where: Corner of Second and Poplar

First United Methodist Church, which has served Memphis for nearly 200 years, is building a new sanctuary to replace the historic building that burned in 2006.  Work on the exterior is nearing completion, and a new steeple comes next.  Chris Woods Construction Co. will use a huge crane to erect the steeple in sections over several days, ending with the raising of the spire on Jan. 11 (possibly 12).  Crowned with a cross, the tip of the spire will tower about 100 feet above street level and enhance the Downtown skyline.

The next  step for the church is raise enough money to furnish the interior of the sanctuary, first to install the amenities needed to gain a certificate of occupancy and then to add seating, a choir loft, AV equipment and other features.  Generous gifts and pledges from the congregation total about $3.5 million of the $4.2 million needed for the complete project, and the church is hoping that progress on the exterior will inspire more donations. “We’ve got a beautiful shell but we need to bring life to that empty shell so we can continue to serve our Downtown community,” said Rev. Andy Rambo., senior minister.  Through the fire and the rebuilding, the church has maintained a homeless ministry and other forms of outreach. 

First Methodist’s new sanctuary combines the traditional and the modern, with granite trim salvaged from the old sanctuary adorning the Second St. entrance and a window wall along the Poplar side. The goal is to make God’s love visible and invite people inside. “It’s like that rhyme children do with their hands: ‘Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and here’s all the people’,“ Rambo said. “We’ve got the church and the steeple. Now we need to finish the inside and open the doors for all the people.”

Contact: Rev. Andy Rambo

arambo@firstchurchmemphis.org