Love Chapel United Methodist Church celebrates new home
The building at 2001 Forest Hills Boulevard in Haughton is a house of God built on love.
Members of Love Chapel United Methodist Church have settled nicely into their new church home and will be inviting the public in for a tour this month. Love Chapel is a United Methodist congregation that worships God through words, songs, and actions.
With warm hearts and caring spirits, Pastor Jean Sanders said the 125 member congregation is made up of “real people living out their faith and growing in Jesus Christ.”
“We have a variety of people in the congregation that are dedicated to serving Jesus Christ,” Sanders said. “We are a blended congregation. What you see is what you get.”
Love Chapel moved into its new building just in time for Easter service last month. The transition is something the congregation has waited years for, ever since the new property was acquired and the first phase of construction was completed.
According to church documents, a major financial campaign was conducted in 2002 under the leadership of Rev. Ellen Alston. Thanks to continued contributions, the first phase of construction on an open pavilion with a kitchen, restrooms and a meeting room began in April 2010.
The expanded facilities were completed in 2012 and provided more space for church and community activities as well as for year-round ministry work. Then, the pavilion was enclosed to create a church sanctuary, Sunday school rooms and office space.
Jeremy Schomburg said the new church just feels like home.
“Love is in the name for a reason. We are one big family. It’s like going home when you come here,” the father of three said. “It’s real, relaxed and it’s comfortable.”
Love Chapel has an extensive history in the Haughton community. Founded in the early 1960s, the first church service was held in a converted lumber shed that housed a sanctuary, two classrooms and a kitchen.
Forty-nine people attended the first church service in January 1962. Charter members John T. Smith and wife Dorothy have literally watched the love grow over the last 50 years.
“We were confined to two acres of land for so long. The committee found this land and it’s 12 and a half acres. It just seemed like the Lord laid this land in our laps,” Dorothy Smith said.
Although they had the land, the question of when they would finally get to build on it lingered. Dorothy’s answer, though, was that it was all done in God’s time.
Their previous location, just a few miles down the road from their new building, was on and off the market for years. Dorothy said they had to sell that building before construction could start.
In the mean time, they worshiped under the pavilion and used the land and space any chance they could.
“Being here feels like home because we’ve been here already,” Dorothy added.
Love Chapel UMC offers blended music during worship services, incorporating traditional hymns of the faith with contemporary songs, with a live band of guitars, keyboard/piano and drums.
“Music is such an important part of worship,” musician and church member Lane Raley said. “It’s a mixture of old and new to incorporate the entire congregation. I like the hymns, but I really enjoy the new music as well.”
Love Chapel is also very involved with the community through outreach mission work through their mission, “sharing God’s love in word and deed.”
One way they give back is through a Back to School Bash. Each fall, church members collect and distribute school supplies to children in need at the Haughton area elementary schools – T.L. Rodes, Platt and Princeton.
Another community outreach is their craft fair, held on the second Saturday of the month. The fair is open to the public and feature homemade crafts and food items.
Then there’s Vacation Bible School, the United Methodist women’s group and honoring local military service men and women.
The next phase of construction includes a fellowship hall and the possibility of more classroom space. The members of Love Chapel UMC don’t know when that will come around, but they are certainly ready to watch their love grow.
“Change brings anxiety, but we will just work through it and trust God’s plan,” Sanders said.
Love Chapel United Methodist Church will open the doors of their brand new church for a community open house on Saturday, May 31, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The event includes a tour the building, visiting with church members, a bounce house, face painting and refreshments.
For more information, call (318) 949-0430 or visit their Facebook page.