Oklahoma City's First United Methodist Church, which sustained heavy damage when a terrorist's bomb destroyed the Alfred Murrah Federal Building, will break ground for a new facility on the one-year anniversary of the bombing, April 19.
"We want our sanctuary to be a witness to the fact that good always triumphs over evil, that whenever hate and disregard for human life and property raises its head, somebody is going to be there who is going to do something so spectacular that it overshadows the evil and shows love as the last word," says senior pastor Nick Harris.
The church now has about $3.5 million available, Harris says, including insurance proceeds and donations. Another $1 million is needed to complete the first two phases of construction, which includes erecting a new 1,500-seat sanctuary with the look of a "modern Gothic cathedral." The old sanctuary will be gutted, and a new three-story, 23,000-square-foot building will be built inside the old exterior walls to house a learning center, classrooms, chapel, and fellowship hall.
Since the bombing, the congregation has been meeting at a nearby Baptist church. Harris says that despite the relocation, the attendance, about 800 before the bombing, has remained steady at around 700.1