PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria's oldest Protestant church is beginning the first chapter of a new phase.
Downtown Peoria's First United Methodist Church held a groundbreaking ceremony Sunday morning.
The church's nearly $9 million expansion project will include upgrades to areas like the children's wing and soup kitchen and the addition of a new multi-purpose facility, located at 116 NE Perry Ave.
Pastor Bob Phillips says it's all part of the church's commitment to remain downtown.
"We also realized that by staying in the heart of the city, we can remain accessible to a lot of folks who stand in need of the kinds of things we offer," said Pastor Phillips, "whether it's the soup kitchen, our ministry to those with HIV, the tutoring programs, the other kinds of things we do that are right around the church."
The new multi-purpose building is expected to be complete next June, all other renovations by next winter.
Pastor Phillips says so far, the church has raised more than $6 million.
For more information, visit the church's website, at http://www.fumcpeoria.org.