In just a few days, the doors to the Tolleson Family Activity Center will open to the public for the first time. It’s a day all of us at Highland Park United Methodist Church have looked forward to for nearly three years!
The opening of the Tolleson Family Activity Center will transform the scope and future of ministry at HPUMC. From an entire floor dedicated to serving those with disabilities to new classrooms, cafes, study spaces, and arcades for middle and high school students, to a new gym, worship venue and parking garage, the Tolleson building has something to offer everyone.
The building provides HPUMC’s Belong disABILITY Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Wellness Ministry the room they need to grow and thrive as these ministries continue to expand. But as Elliott Gonzalez, Pastor to Youth and Families, shares, the building is about so much more than just new space. It’s a place for students and others to encounter God.
“I wasn't raised in a spiritual tradition. I came to faith in high school because one of my friends invited me to his youth group,” said Gonzalez. “Reluctantly, I went to my first church service as a junior in high school and, over time, God opened my heart to God's steadfast and transforming love. I'm eager to see HPUMC Youth help thousands of teens become deeply devoted followers of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!”
Gonzalez says all programs and activities within the new building are geared toward helping students learn to make their faith the number one thing in their life.
“I dream of a youth ministry where every student within our reach will know, through our witness and presence, that they are loved and welcomed in the church of Jesus Christ,” said Gonzalez. “In doing so, I believe God will shape generations of vibrant, compassionate, and gracious disciples that are equipped to transform the world by living out the gospel of love.”
“The Tolleson Family Activity Center symbolizes a deep commitment by HPUMC to those in the city of Dallas who have disabilities and their families,” adds Vance Gilmore, Director of HPUMC’s Belong Ministry. “This past week I gave a tour to a family who is involved with the development of Chance's Pie Palace. The joy they felt in the space and proposed program was so real.”
Gilmore says his dream for the new building and the programs offered by the Belong Ministry will serve those in our city in a big and bold way. And as Rev. Paul Rasmussen, HPUMC’s Senior Minister reminds us, big and bold prayers are where the vision for the Tolleson Family Activity Center began.
“I believe God dares us to pray boldly. And it doesn’t get a whole lot bolder than this,” said Rev. Rasmussen. “A little over two years ago, we challenged you all to pray boldly and to give generously, beyond your limits, beyond your walls, and beyond yourselves. Today, on behalf of everyone who will grow, thrive, study, and praise God in this spectacular and sacred space, we are beyond grateful!”