Miles Chapel CME Church plans to relocate next year in a new $1.2 million complex that church leaders expect will help growth of the 108-year-old church's membership and ministries.

The church was established in 1909 and rebuilt in 1947 at its present site at 1922 North Palace Avenue.

The new facility will be built on a 5-acre tract of land donated to the church near the intersection of North Broadway Avenue with Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Construction will begin this year and the new complex will open in 2018.

James Anderson, chair of the building committee, said the new complex is long overdue and that he thinks relocating will be healthy for the church.

"I think we need to relocate in an area that is growing and make it accessible to more people," Anderson said. "As it stands now, it's kind of isolated in an area that's not growing. North Broadway is an area that is growing."

The new facility, Anderson said, "will give us new life. We have great leadership and we have a bright future ahead of us."

The current church building has limited space and foundational issues, according to the Rev. Jamie L. Capers, pastor. Considering the cost of repairs, the membership thought building a new facility was the thing to do, he said.

The new sanctuary will accommodate approximately 330 people, compared to the 225 maximum in the current sanctuary.

The new complex also will have five classrooms, compared to two now, a choir area that the church does not currently have, a pastor's study, and a fellowship hall that will seat about 175 people, compared to the 130 limit in the existing church.

The church will be able to expand its scholarship banquet, clothing giveaway and food ministry aimed at meeting the needs of the less fortunate, Capers said.

Once the congregation settles in its new church, plans are to sell the current property but if the church is unable to sell it, "we will use it to establish programs for young people and seek to meet needs of the community," Capers said.

Already, Miles Chapel is putting greater focus on serving young people.

"They are giving the church life and a bright future," the pastor said.

The new structure will have a traditional church look with a steeple, an enlarged foyer area, a new piano and organ, technology including projectors and monitors and a canopy area for individuals loading and unloading.

"There are many members that are very passionate about building a new church," Capers said. "It's a project that's dear to the membership's heart."

The new facility, he said, will greatly increase the morale and give a sense of accomplishment and hope for the future.

"I believe the new church building will increase our drive and our passion," Capers said. "The church has always been an integral part of the community and we look to continue that, but also to renew our presence in Tyler and the surrounding area and let them know we are here to serve the Lord in whichever way that we can."


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