The Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church opened its first satellite branch Sept. 27 to serve residents in the Brice Road and East Livingston Avenue areas.

The Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church opened its first satellite branch Sept. 27 to serve residents in the Brice Road and East Livingston Avenue areas.

The 2,100-square-foot in the Century Square Shopping Center, 1731 Brice Road, is near the northwest corner of Brice and Livingston.

Associate Pastor Kevin Quincel said the facility is a partnership with the Crossroads Community Development Corp., which operates the Shepherd's Place clothing store in a 4,200-square-foot space next door.

Church spokesperson Brenda Hauser said in a press release that a 10-year study of the area by Percept Group Inc., based on U.S. Census data, shows the Brice-Livingston community has a below-average number of married persons and two-parent families.

The study showed the racial/ethnic diversity in the area is very high, with the Hispanic/Latino population expected to increase by 20.3 percent between 2010 and 2015.

"What we learned is the western third of Reynoldsburg is very different from the eastern two-thirds of Reynoldsburg, and getting people to come to our church on Graham Road does not work, so we said, 'let's go to our neighbors,'" Quincel said. "Let's go to where they live, rather than asking them to come to us and be in an uncomfortable environment. Let's be in their environment with them and be a part of the community."

Jeff Greenway, lead pastor at RUMC, said the church is "not primarily concerned with getting bigger, but being better in reaching lost people.

"We believe that the most effective way to reach new people for Jesus is to start new communities of faith, and we are committed to doing so on a frequent basis," he said.

RUMC's new satellite facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Free special programs will be offered mostly after hours. They include a "Celebrate Recovery" program every Monday at 5:30 p.m., which provides a safe, confidential environment with a modified 12-step program for individuals needing to heal from a variety of things such as depression, bad habits or hang-ups, Quincel said.

Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., the church will offer a free dinner and Bible study with time for group discussions.

Beginning in October, a martial arts program will be offered to troubled youth and adults on Sundays at 6 p.m.

"The martial arts program is intended to provide a place to give mentoring to kids and teens," Quincel said. "What we found out is there are a lot of youth in the community around there and a lot of non-traditional family structures.

"A lot of the times, they slip through the cracks, whether it's through the school or whatever other activity they may or may not be in," he said. "We want to provide a place for them to get to know one another, and second, to get mentoring from the guy that's leading this, Ed Rutherford, a great guy and a great mentor."

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday will be

An "English as a Second Language" program will be offered in partnership with the Columbus Literacy Council at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This location will become the literacy council's East Side center for English as a Second Language.

Quincel said Sunday morning services will be launched early in 2011.

"We want to make a church that is relevant to the community and relevant to the neighborhood alongside folks that live here," he said. "Rather than coming up with our model and plopping it down on the community, let's figure out what a great church looks like in this western third of Reynoldsburg."

For more information, call the Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church at (614) 866-5864 or go to their Web site at www.rumc.org.

dowen@thisweeknews.com

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