The Walden United Methodist Church broke ground on a new church building on Sept. 7 after years of hard work and planning.
Phil Bell, Managing Partner of Brigs Builders, said the 3,500-square-foot building features a sanctuary, a multi-purpose room, a kitchen, two classrooms, a foyer, bathrooms, landscaping, and a parking lot.
Bell said congregants hope to have the church built by Easter. Framing, roofing and exterior work will hopefully be completed before winter, and the interior work will be completed over winter.
Pastor Scharlise Dorsey, United Methodist Church Resident Bishop Thomas Bickerton, District Superintendent Catskill Hudson Reverend Karen Monk and church members held a worship service and ceremony for the groundbreaking.
Monk praised the congregation for building a church in an era of declining church attendance. She reminded the congregation they are the foundation for the church, rather than a physical building.
“The church is right here,” Monk said, gesturing to the congregation. “You are the foundation; we are the church.”
Dorsey said it’s important to note that the physical building reminds the community that the church is present to spread hope and love in an uncertain world. Despite an era of declining church attendance, Dorsey said Christians take solace in their faith.
“To the glory of God, in the presence of this congregation, I now direct the ground to be broken for the new location of the Walden United Methodist Church,” Dorsey said. “The responsibility and the privilege rest upon us to cause a building to rise here that shall be a house of this people of God and a place devoted to the worship of almighty god and to the glory of our lord and savior Jesus Christ.”
Building a new church has been a long time coming. The congregation used to reside in a church on Main Street in Walden, but the upkeep and utilities for the 15,000-square-foot-building became too expensive for a small congregation.
Renovations to the building would have been too expensive because the building was old and not up to current building codes. The congregation voted to relocate in 2004. The building was sold in 2014.
Currently, the congregation meets at St. Andrews for service on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., after St. Andrew’s congregation dismisses service at 11:15 a.m.