LEXINGTON — The First United Methodist Church is renovating its basement to incorporate a child care center and it is no small task. The basement needed to be cleared out to begin renovations and the Lexington Powerlifiting team stepped in to offer their support… and muscles.

“We did some community service there last year and asked if we could come back this year and the answer was yes,” Lexington Powerlifting coach Amber Burson said, “When we heard they were needing help with the large project to do for the daycare center that would benefit the entire community we knew we had to help!”

The FUMC is seeking to host Learning Adventures Child Care Center out of the location in order to help with the need for child care in the community.

Learning Adventures is owned and operated by Casey Madsen, who already operates a center in the Methodist Church in Gothenburg.

The center would be taking on around 50 children to start and FUMC and Learning Adventures hopes to open the center by March 2020.

Pastor Anne Gahn of FUMC described the Powerlifting team offer as “the perfect timing.”

In order to open the center, renovations needed to be made to the basement sections of the church. Before these could be started, the area needed to be cleared out. The church has had several work days to help clean the area out, but got a major boost in manpower from the Lexington Powerlifting team.

There were 90 members of the team who gathered at FUMC on Saturday, Nov. 16 to help move furniture and other items, clean rooms and help demo areas of the basement, Burson said.

“You name it, they did it,” Gahn said of the work the students put in. She said the moved pianos, old furniture, pulled up carpet, stripped wallpaper, demoed two bathrooms. In addition they helped collect children’s books from all over the church for a joint child care center/preschool library.

Another crew of 12 to 20 students were outside most of the time helping to do fall lawn work, clean up flower beds, rake leaves, etc., said Gahn.

“They did a lot of work without knowing exactly what they were going to do,” said church council chairman Kent Gydesen.

The Trustees of the church put together a great list of tasks and the students attacked them with no hesitation or complaints, Gahn said. “They were ready to do a day’s work she said.”

“Everyone dived in, no one was just standing around,” Gydesen said, “If someone didn’t have anything to do, they were asking what they could do. What an awesome group of kids.”

Gahn said she spoke to the assembled students at lunch time and said “it is a beautiful thing, a highlight of Lexington ,” for students of different faiths and ethnicities all coming together to help the church. In turn this will allow for the church serve the community.

The students even recognized the work of others during the day, the United Methodist Women had prepared a lunch for the team and the UMW received a standing ovation when students were told who prepared the meal, Gydesen said.

“It was a powerful thing,” Gahn said, “The students felt great about serving.”

During the day Gahn said it was fascinating to see students step up into leadership roles and rally another group of students. She said the students helped build relationships with one another and the members of the FUMC congregation.

One congregation member told Gahn, “She wouldn’t have missed this day for the world.”

“Some of the kids were very hands on,” said Gydesen, “It was a pleasure to see what they did for the church, and they got the ball rolling.”

“A huge thanks goes out to the Powerlifting coaches,” Gahn said, “they were all amazing to work with, and to see the respect the students have for the coaches.”

“Community service is something every member knows is a part of our team,” said Burson. “Kids love taking part in these activities and our kids felt accomplished and proud at the end of the day.”

“Our community gives a lot to our schools and student-athletes. It is important to learn through athletics and activities how to give of yourself and put others needs ahead of ourselves to be a strong functioning community,” Burson said, “These students will be working members of a community and will have families someday and they need to see through our examples and the opportunities we can provide them how to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

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