Mariners Bethel's Hope Center to provide space for community outreach, church programs
Construction is nearly finished on a new multipurpose hall on the grounds of Ocean View’s Mariners Bethel United Methodist Church.
The 13,050 square-foot "Hope Center" is located to the west of the Central Avenue church and is Mariners' first major addition since a new sanctuary was built in 2003. It's expected to be fully functional mid-February.
“The Hope Center provides additional space for fulfilling Mariners’ vision of growing spiritually healthy people through all generations,” said co-pastor Woody Wilson.
At the center of the $3.8 million building is a 45 feet wide, 74 feet long multipurpose hall, which can accommodate up to 400 people and sports like basketball, volleyball and pickleball. It is surrounded by meeting rooms, classrooms, a computer lab, a stage, a kitchen café and storage areas.
The Hope Center will provide space for many of Mariners Bethel's outreach initiatives, including CRASH (Creating Revolution and Saving Hearts), the church's youth group.
“The Hope Center will enable us to pursue new and emerging ministries and to better engage with our community,” said Family and Youth Ministries Director Christina Wilson.
One of those emerging ministries is "Enrichment of Hope," which Mariners Bethel hopes to begin in fall 2021, depending on the status of COVID-19. Enrichment of Hope will provide afterschool mentoring and tutoring to at-risk youth in the area.
Wilson said church staff and volunteers will lead the program and partner with the Indian River School District. They already work with the district in helping to feed needy families and sponsoring students' families at Christmas.
The Hope Center will be used for other programs, too, including "Week of Hope," a summer camp of sorts in which youth from across the country stay at the church for a week and participate in community improvement projects, and the "Feed My Sheep" program, in which volunteers prepare and deliver meals to the needy as well as operate a food pantry.
Mariners Bethel is also looking into using the Hope Center as a Code Purple shelter.
“The church’s outreach vision is to have no unaddressed human need within a 12-mile radius of the church... and beyond that,” said co-pastor Dave Humphrey, pastor. “Those basic human needs are food, clothing, and shelter. It is our mission to bring transforming love and change lives by embracing our neighbors in Sussex County."