First United Methodist Church Goes Up for Auction

Article taken from The Portsmouth Daily Times, Thursday, October 9, 2003

The fate of The First United Methodist Church building is close at hand.

Today at 10 a.m., contents of the building will be auctioned off at its location on Seventh and Gay streets. Pianos from the church will be sold at the Cornerstone UMC location at 11 a.m.

The building has been for sale for nearly two years, when the last service was conducted in december 2001. In January 2002, First UMC merged with Franklin Avenue, Findlay Street, Cornerstone and Wesley Methodist churches to form one congregation, now called Cornerstone.

"We had hoped to sell it," said Gary Albrecht, chairman of the Board of Trustees at Cornerstone and originally of the Wesley church. "It's a very nice building and very nice on the inside."

Having no takers for two years has forced the congregation to tear down the building by the end of the year.

"It was costing $25,000 to $30,000 a year to maintain the building and there didn't seem to be any interest whatsoever in it," Albrecht said. He said the interest that did surface was in making the corner a leveled lot. Albrecht has received calls from across the country inquiring about auction items.

Cornerstone is about to undergo even more changes, with plans of a new building in the future on the parking lot on Gallia and Offenere streets, across the street from the current church. Groundbreaking could be as early as this winter.

Albrecht said as the congregation ages, the need for a more modern and easily accessible building is clear. Cornerstone has many stairs and the new building will be a single level. It will also contain a multipurpose room that can be used as a gym.

Erecting a new building, however, means doing something with the old one. Albrecht said they will try to sell Cornerstone when the time comes and he thinks its location should be an easier sell.

"It's a Valuable corner. We might get a good price out of that real estate," Albrecht said.

"It will be twice as hard when it's my building that we tear down, but it will be a step into the future. We have to do it."

Items being sold at the auction today include on organ, oak pews, amplifiers, tape recorders, folding tables, stacking chairs and Christmas decorations.