New church youth center under renovation

Published 4:58 pm Thursday, February 4, 2016

New home: The former Current Corner building is being renovated into a youth center for Clanton First United Methodist Church. (Photo by Chanel Bingham)

New home: The former Current Corner building is being renovated into a youth center for Clanton First United Methodist Church. (Photo by Chanel Bingham)

By Chanel Bingham | Special to the Advertiser


Clanton First United Methodist Church is expanding its footprint in the community with the purchase of a 5,000 square foot facility that will serve as a new youth center.

The new facility, currently under renovation, is part of the legacy of the late John and Margo Gibson.

The Gibson estate left a generous financial gift to the church, and it is those funds that were used to purchase the old Current Corner building located at the intersection of Highway 22 and Fourth Avenue North in Clanton.

“The building will have a brick front with a nice porch on the back,” Youth Pastor Jeff Herron said. “The front of the building will have a common area. There will be flashing marquee signs, two sitting areas with sectionals, ping pong tables, foosball tables, air hockey tables and flat screens on the walls.

“Also in the common area are two Sunday School rooms, which will each have flat screens and DVD players. Behind the common area, there is a full kitchen with a third Sunday School classroom and restrooms. There will also be a worship area with new instruments, a large flat screen television and sound system. It has a really good feel to it.”

It came as no surprise to church members that the Gibson family chose to include the church in the division of their estate.

“Margo was one of the most positive Christian examples in the church in recent memory,” Pastor Rob West said.

Longtime friend Lynn Best added that church was important to the Gibsons.

“Margo volunteered in every aspect,” Best said. “She was a church leader for years volunteering with Vacation Bible School and serving as a Sunday School teacher, worship leader, lay leader and lay speaker.”

Best said education and youth were also important to the Gibson family.

“Their legacy is that a love for God would be continued for generations to come,” she said. “The way Margo felt ‘for generations to come’ to be expressed is through children and youth; ‘train up a child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).’”

Herron said the Gibson’s generous gift will make a significant impact in the life of youth in the community.

“This facility is providing us with different avenues of outreach that we didn’t have before,” he said. “Our building is now handicap-accessible and will include handicapped restrooms. Also, although we are still on the church campus, we have a separate building that youth can call their own. That is a big draw for some of our youth.

“There are just a lot more opportunities now, and we can play our worship music a little louder.”

The new facility will begin being utilized later this month, with a special dedication and ribbon cutting service tentatively planned for April.