10/27/2000 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York
NOTE: A photograph is available with this story.
By United Methodist News Service
With the help of a $1 million gift, the World Methodist Council will begin construction on a new headquarters building at Lake Junaluska, N.C., in early November.
The gift is from Royce and Jane Reynolds of Greensboro, N.C., according to the Rev. Joe Hale, the council's chief executive. Mr. Reynolds is a member of the council's executive committee.
Hale said the gift "meets an urgent need" for more office space and meeting rooms, archival space, and an area where rare museum holdings and manuscripts can be preserved.
To be named the Reynolds World Center, the new Queen Anne-style building will replicate one of Methodism's most historic sites - the home of the Wesley family in Epworth, England. The "Old Rectory" was purchased by the World Methodist Council when it was put up for sale in 1954. Restored and opened as a landmark in 1957, the rectory has thousands of visitors annually.
While the exterior of the new headquarters will evoke history, the interior will be equipped with the latest in technology, Hale said. One room, however, will call to mind an 18th century chamber thought by the Wesleys to be haunted. The suspected ghost was named "Old Jeffrey" by Emily, the eldest of the Wesley daughters.
W.R. Cunningham of Mountain Design is the architect for the project. Kathryn Greeley of Noland Interiors is the interior designer, and the contractor is Clark & Leatherwood Inc.
The current council headquarters building, which will remain on the property, was presented as a gift in 1956, when the council offices were moved from New York City to North Carolina.
Founded in London in 1881, the World Methodist Council has 74 member denominations in the Methodist/Wesleyan tradition with churches in 130 nations.