FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH JACKSONVILLE
The First United Methodist Church of Jacksonville, Texas, a 100-year religious institution in the East Texas area, purchased approximately 20 acres of land for the purpose of relocation and to better serve its congregation and the surrounding community. Primary goals were to move into a new facility designed to meet current needs and expansion capabilities for the future, combining the traditional architectural value of the existing facility with cutting edge technology to better serve the congregation.
Since a large part of their curre nt members were senior citizens who had grown up in this church, a particular focus of this project was to preserve the heritage and memories of the existing building, incorporated into a new facility.
The new site, located at the intersection of a loop arterial and a major feeder arterial, offers high visibility site exposure. With this in mind, the sanctuary was juxtaposed to the intersection, ensuring high visibility from both directions, with expanding wings fronting each thoroughfare.
The building design consisted of a central core rather than linear construction. At the center of the building is a two-story atrium that includes fireplaces, comfortable chairs and sofas, and space for a coffee shop. The atrium is a place the congregation can gather before and after services, even in bad weather. Branching out from the atrium are two wings dedicated to the different functions the church serves. There is a children's wing housing a day school; Sunday school and youth programs; an administrative wing; the sanctuary and worship space; and administrative offices.
Many of the elderly members of the congregation who have attended this church all of their lives, were reluctant to move to a new location. The original church's century-old building included beautiful architectural features that many were loathe to part with. To address their concerns, the exquisite stained glass windows that had been in the original sanctuary were installed in the new building. The new church was designed in a way that embraced the architectural heritage that the congregation cherished, allowing them to feel that they did not really leave their old church behind, they brought it with them.