Medina church moves into former Apple Grove

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 October 2013 at 12:00 am

United Methodists worked three years to transform site

Photos by Tom Rivers – The Medina United Methodist Church celebrated its first service in the former Apple Grove Inn this morning. The church extended the west wall to accommodate the sanctuary.

MEDINA – A three-year journey ended today for the United Methodist Church when celebrated their first service inside the former Apple Grove Inn.

The church bought the landmark building for $100,000 at an auction. Most of the building was gutted, walls were taken out in some spots and new ones put in. The west end of the building was extended to accommodate the sanctuary.

Tony Hipes, the church pastor, leads the group in prayer before they go inside to dedicate the building.

It was a lot of work, and church members did the bulk of the construction, painting and carpeting themselves. Today, the congregation of about 50 people had a final service at their building at 222 West Center St. Then they walked or drove a mile down the road to the former Apple Grove.

The revamped site has cushioned chairs and much more modern look. It’s all on one floor and includes a commercial kitchen and reception area that the church wants to make available to the community for wedding receptions and other parties.

“A lot of the Grove is still here,” said Matt Brueckner, a church member who spearheaded the construction project. “We just made it better.”

Pastor Tony Hipes and church members, including flag holder Dan Wilson, walked about a mile today from their old church building to the newly remodelled former Apple Grove Inn.

The church paid contractors for plumbing, heating, electrical and air-conditioning. But members took on most of the rest of the work.

“We just broke the building into sections,” said Brueckner, who became the building project chairman and construction manager, often putting in 50 to 60 hours a week on the project.

The church spent about $875,000 total for the project. If it had hired out all of the work, it would have cost about $2 million.

The reception area will be open to the public for parties and other events.

At the conclusion of today’s final service at the church at 222 West Center St., the church’s home since 1876, members carried Bibles, a cross, offering plates, banners and other sacred elements from the church to the former Apple Grove.

“I think what we’ve done here is have one foot in the past and the other in the present and future by having a modern-looking church,” Brueckner said.

The church choir leads the congregation in singing “Spirit of the Living God, Fall Afresh on Me.”

Orleans Hub will have coverage later of the final United Methodist church service at 222 West Center St.