FORT WAYNE – Demolition of the fire-scorched sanctuary at Taylor Chapel United Methodist Church began Wednesday as leaders of the congregation announced plans to rebuild on the same site.
Were taking this all the way down to the slab, and were starting all the way over from scratch, lead Pastor Steven Conner said of the sanctuary that was heavily damaged in a Dec. 31 fire sparked by faulty electrical wiring.
The church at 10145 Maysville Road, near Interstate 469 in northeast Fort Wayne, plans to hire a contractor this month and finalize a design for a new sanctuary by late winter. A groundbreaking is expected in the early spring, with construction lasting six to nine months.
There is an outside hope that we will be able to worship in the new sanctuary at Christmas of 2014, the church said in a statement.
At this point, church officials dont know what the new sanctuary will look like, Conner said.
We do want to build a space that looks like a sacred, spiritual space, he said. But we want it to be contemporary.
Conner said the old sanctuary was 4,100 square feet and had seating for 250 people. He expects the new sanctuary to be larger, accommodating 300 to 400 people in a 6,000- to 6,500-square-foot space.
The pastor declined to estimate how much the project will cost, but he said the church will fund the construction with donations and insurance money.
Were going to do the best we can, the most we can, with the resources God makes available to us, he said.
The churchs history dates to the 1860s, and parishioners have worshipped at the current site since 1964.
The fire on New Years Eve burned through the roof of the sanctuary and charred the interior. Since then, services have been conducted in a section of the church that was not damaged.
This church has a long story, and its a great story, Conner said. And as great as that history is, we have a brighter and even greater future.