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Open Doors Neighborhood Center opens its doors

A group sits around a table at the First United Church for a weekly discussion. A discussion group meets Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at the church and is lead by the churches minister.
A group sits around a table at the First United Church for a weekly discussion. A discussion group meets Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at the church and is lead by the churches minister.

by Nicole Reitz

The Open Doors Neighborhood Center of the First United Church of Fulton, located  at 33 S. Third St., is open Tuesday mornings for coffee and recreation.

“What first drove us to start this center was the fact that churches in Fulton, both Baptist and Presbyterians, were uniting,” said Carol Dexter, chairperson of the Open Doors Neighborhood Center board. “We needed to get used to each others religious set ups.”

The group needed to have more of a focus so a transformation group started and met for five years. Out of the transformation group, the Open Doors Neighborhood Center was created.

The center operates out of the First United Church. A year ago, it was given a $5,000 grant from the American Baptist Churches. The center is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until noon.

At 10 a.m., a discussion group is lead by the minister and typically draws between four and 11 people.

Allyn Sponable, a church member, said that the discussion isn’t a bible study, but more of an unstructured meeting where current events are talked about. In addition to the discussion group, the facility has three computers and a printer available for public use. A workshop on how to use Facebook is being considered.

A mahjongg group, comprised of eight people, play weekly. Also available are other board games Wii sports games and shuffleboard in the fellowship hall. A walking group also meets, but takes a break during the winter months. Instead, they knit and crochet.

“The center is a safe place for seniors to drop in,” said Dexter. “We want to let the community know that we are here and we’d love to have people come in. We’re always open for suggestions.”

Dexter said that the center tries to relate to the interests of those who participate. A cooking class was held in November. In September, there will be a meeting on trusts, wills, and planning for the future.

Newer movies are shown once a month on Sunday afternoons. The movie is free of charge and refreshments are available. The next movie shown will be a historical drama about the sixteenth president.

The center isn’t open to just seniors. The group is also reaching out to children and families in the community. Since the church separates the city’s Fifth and Sixth Wards, the center has been working with Granby and Fairgrieve elementary schools.

Last summer, the center housed an Arts Explosion, which included crafts, dance, art, music, creative writing and drama for children.

In December, the center held a Family Christmas Experience, which was attended by 30 children and their families, and included crafts, a story-time and pictures with Santa.

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The second annual “Holly Jolly Christmas Party” for adults will be hosted by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center of First United Church of Fulton Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. Allyn and Lucille Sponable will once again greet those attending the party.

‘Holly Jolly Christmas Party’ planned at First United Church

Holly Jolly Christmas
The second annual “Holly Jolly Christmas Party” for adults will be hosted by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center of First United Church of Fulton Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. Allyn (pictured) and his wife Lucille Sponable will once again greet those attending the party.

The second annual “Holly Jolly Christmas Party” for adults will be hosted by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center of First United Church of Fulton Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Snow Belters Barbershop Quartet from Oswego will be the featured entertainment. Additionally, old-fashioned Christmas songs will be sung, games of wit and wisdom will be played, and refreshments will be shared, including donated goodies from Cathy’s Cakes of downtown Fulton.

This event is open to the community and is offered free of charge.

The Open Doors Neighborhood Center was established by the First United Church of Fulton in order to build bridges of hospitality and friendship with the greater Fulton Community. Ever Tuesday morning, the center is open for coffee fellowship, table games, Wii, shuffleboard, a walking group, and other organized activities for older adults.

The next major activity will be the second annual Family Christmas Experience scheduled for Friday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m.

This event will feature crafts, storytelling, fun Christmas songs, and refreshments. It is open to the community and is offered free of charge.

Those seeking more information may contact David Nethercott at 592-2707 or prairieborn@aol.com.