Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:11PM - 287 Views

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Portia Williams


PDT Staff Writer


Cornerstone United Methodist Church has paid off the $1.8 million loan for their facility as of October 2012. The church’s original goal was to pay off the loan by 2017.


The Senior Pastor of Cornerstone, Tim Roth, said he and his congregation is elated from achieving their goal of paying off the loan five years earlier than what they had originally planned.


The 37, 800 square foot building is equipped with a large sanctuary, 15 classrooms, a welcome center, and a full-sized gymnasium/family center.


Cornerstone United Methodist Church is a conglomeration of four churches, Bigelow-Trinity, which became Wesley, Franklin Avenue, and Findlay Street United Methodist Church.


These four diverse congregations united in 2002 to form a congregation working together to fulfill what they believe is God’s plan for service in the Portsmouth area and beyond.


“I was told that many people said a merger like this would never happen in Portsmouth, Ohio, and that it was too big of a challenge, the economy was down and mergers just don’t work,” Roth said.


The groundbreaking for the facility began in 2003 and was completed in 2005.


Roth was installed as Senior Pastor on the first of July this year as he and his wife Jennifer and their three sons, Zach, Jacob, and Eli relocated from Houston.


Though he was born and raised in Findlay, Ohio, Roth said he has strong ties to Portsmouth.


This is a homecoming, because my grandmother, Ida Dever Roth, is from Portsmouth as well as his parents Alice Dever Roth and Jerry Roth.


Harold Massie was the Chairman of the Finance Committee for the first five years of the merger and said it has been a benefit for everyone.


“I think it has all been great. To be able to merge four different congregations and to go forward is fantastic. We just worked together and now we are one church,” Massie said.


Gary Albrecht was Chairman of the Trustee Board for 28 years from the time that he was a member of Bigelow-Trinity up to two years ago when he retired.


Albrecht said the merger of the churches and the earlier pay off of the loan was the work of God.


“I don’t see how us mortals could have pulled it off. I think its a bigger hand than us that is guiding what we are doing,”Albrecht said.


Cornerstone is planning a large mortgage burning celebration in spring 2013.


“We are looking toward the future with great excitement. The vision was that Cornerstone would be a church for the Portsmouth community,” Roth said.


Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or portiawilliams@heartlandpublications.com

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