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Church celebrates Family Life Center

Pendleton Center United Methodist Church just can't seem to stop growing.

Church members recently held the grand opening of the Family Life Center, a $1 million wing of the church at 6864 Campbell Blvd.

The center was designed to serve the needs of 1,000 adults and several hundred children in the congregation, as well as many others in the community.

The Rev. Thomas M. Kraft, church pastor, said the facility includes a gym, fellowship hall, art studio, cafe and music suite.

"We built this center to give us a little more breathing room for our ministries," said Janice R. Inwards, communication coordinator for the church.

The new center has a full day, hosting activities from 7:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., including a before-school program, community groups such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Bible studies and even events such as line dancing.

Louis E. Bobsein, a lay leader, said he joined the church about 10 years ago after sizing it up against other area places of worship.

"I came back to this church because I felt Pastor Tom's sermons were very relatable," Bobsein said.

He also said church members were keen on making the church a community gathering place.

"We looked at our town, and we said we could become the community center," Bobsein said.

Kraft said the church and new facility offer amenities other congregations might not have, including two movie screening facilities.

The congregation has attracted many people not considered churchgoers, he said.

Kraft, who joined the church in 1990, likes to inject religion with a bit of fun. He said he recently hooked his sermon with a storybook theme on the "Land of Oz." Another sermon employed a motorcycle that was brought inside the church. And congregation members also constructed a house inside the church building, he said.

"It is kind of hard to fall asleep in our church," he quipped.

Other ministers at the church are the Revs. Jean Edmister and Suzanne Block.

e-mail: pkowalik@buffnews.com

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