ADG worked with First United Methodist Church’s building committee and congregation to develop a church master plan to include a new sanctuary and expanded education and fellowship facilities. Originally, the church planned to build a family life center and classrooms. The bombing of the Murrah Federal Building across the street in April 1995 changed the congregation’s priorities.
The first step was for church volunteers to build an outdoor prayer chapel for visitors to the federal building site across the street. The Heartland Chapel still stands today and is located next to the church entrance. First Church started from the ground up to rebuild its bomb-damaged home. The church’s first goal for reconstruction was to build an 1,150-seat worship space. The sanctuary is modern and filled with light and hi tech multimedia equipment. Yet the exterior materials of brick and cast stone neatly dovetail with the look the congregation’s historic 1904 home.
In the second phase, the historic church was repaired on the exterior and reconfigured on the interior. The former worship space, which had been almost totally destroyed by the 1995 blast, was structurally reinforced with large steel beams on the west and south. The altar’s rich millwork, which had been located on the damaged west wall, was replicated on the east wall and is the featured backdrop for a stage in the large new fellowship hall. The historic building houses Sunday school classrooms for children in the basement as well as a nursery, a chapel and church offices. A new education wing to the east houses classrooms for older children and teens.