Maplewood UMC celebrating 80 years as storm repairs continue

Published 9:59 am Sunday, May 12, 2024

This month, Maplewood United Methodist Church of Sulphur turned 80. Last week, it celebrated the beginning of construction on a new 3,000-square-foot multi-use building. A tornado ripped through its fellowship hall and its education building during Hurricane Laura, August 2020. It was hoped the education building  might be salvaged, but Hurricane Delta’s appearance in October quelled that notion.     

The sanctuary was almost unscathed by weather events. Worship, however, was another matter. Maplewood Methodist and most churches had stopped meeting after the former governor’s stay-at-home order in March 2020. Attendance dropped off after the stay-at-home order was lifted.      

Streamed services proved to be a double-edged sword, according to Rev. James Moore who started his pastorate in 2022.      

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It served a good purpose. However, watching the service from the comfort of a recliner might have become habit forming.  “I tell people, don’t let live streaming be your only avenue for worship. If you can’t drive or you don’t feel comfortable driving, let somebody know so we can possibly arrange to have you picked up,” he said.

He compared watching a live or filmed church service to seeing a Burger King commercial on TV.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of burger they’re advertising, it won’t really satisfy your hunger.”

Worship is a corporate endeavor, and Maplewood United Methodist Church of Sulphur is a place where visitors are made to feel welcomed, he said. But he is not asking you to take his word for it. Put the church to the test. Services are Sunday at 5 p.m.