PEORIA -- It was a very different story at a downtown Peoria church today.
First United Methodist Church broke ground on a major expansion.
It's a church that's been around for nearly 200 years, and now its building for its future.
Pastor Bob Phillips said, "People have been very dedicated to the process. There's been good communication, we identified the needs and are building to meet the needs thats committed to the heart of the city."
Sunday the congregation gathered outside for a groundbreaking that's been in the works for eight years.
The church is trying to better serve its growing membership and those who come here for help.
Pastor Bob says right now the church has close to 1,500 members, but this expansion is also about helping the community.
On any given Saturday, 300 people line up for the church's weekly "fish and loaves," a soup kitchen giving people food to take home, clothes and even offering a free medical clinic.
The more than eight million dollar expansion will accomodate all of that, plus room to grow with a gymnasium and multi-purpose space.
Phillips added, "It's to increase the amount of outreach we have to the community, in providing human services."
Lifelong member Melinda Huisenga said the project secures the church's future, giving younger generations a space to serve and worship. "To see the kids out here singing from vacation bible school and to see these young men here who prayed in Spanish, Portuguese and English, that's our future. It's a very exciting day for our church."
It's a day they've been waiting for, so they can look forward to the finished product.
The new addition is going directly to the right of the church, taking the place of a parking lot. It's expected to be finished in December 2013.