Historic Landmark or Place of Worship?


So often we hear from people that want to close a church because it has gotten old or looks run-down or doesn’t have as many members as it did in it’s heyday. Occasionally churches are marked for renovation so that the building will appeal to a new generation. I wonder if we have forgotten that the church is not the building (facility) but the people! Isn’t that what we learned in Sunday school? Don’t we still teach that to our children?

Here’s the church, and
Here’s the steeple
Open the door and see all the people!
Close the door and hear them pray,
Open the door, and
They all walk away!

Do we believe that we are the church?

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Some call it a historic Charleston landmark, while others call it their place of worship, but no matter what you call it the bell tower at Christ Church United Methodist is getting a much needed makeover.

The church has had a long history as it was built, burned, rebuilt and renovated.

The tower is 110 years old and beginning to show its age.

The church was once very beautiful until flames and smoke consumed the main part of the building in 1969.

Folks in the congregation are looking forward as the tower still stands as a symbol.

“Our history has proven that over 207 years we have looked ahead and not looked back because we don’t believe that our best days are behind us,” music minister and church historian Rev. David Donathan said. “This is going to be a very exciting place to be over the next two years as we redevelop the building for future generations.”

Renovating it is no easy task either as construction workers sawcut the joints, replace the mortar and clean each and every stone.

“There will be a lot of sweat and tears as we replace the mortar joints,” board of trustees chairman Dayton Carpenter said. “But when we’re done, it’s going to be not only beautiful but structurally good for another 100 years.”

That’s just part of a major renovation of the structure holds much more then sentimental value.

The base of the tower is also the final resting place for deceased members of the church, called the columbarium.

It sits on the bottom floor of the tower and is where former governor Cecil Underwood now rests.

Total renovations are estimated around $2.5 million, and include replacing stained glass and decorative work at the top of the church.

The renovations stretch far beyond the tower and also includes gutting and remodeling the attached Christian Education Center.

“We’re not just doing this for the ministry here at the church,” Donathan said. “We’re doing this for the ministry that reaches out to the community and all of those who come here and use this space as well.”

It’s a chance for the church community to continue giving back.

“This is a place where we raise our children, a place where we learn what the important things are in life,” Carpenter said. “It’s a place where we can reach out in the community and make a difference..

The congregation has already raised more than $1.7 million dollars for the project.

The work will be done in phases over the next couple of years.

Work on the tower should be completed by Labor Day.

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One thought on “Historic Landmark or Place of Worship?

  1. Right you are that the Church is the PEOPLE, not a building. The Greek word is “Ekklesia.” The Hebrew word the Lord spoke is most likely “Qahal.” Both words refer to a body of believers, or “The Community of Called-Out Ones.” This knowledge was lost, however, a the footprint of church buildings became ever-larger and more ornate. It is a travesty that 2.5 million dollars is being wasted to shore up an old building that very, very few people use. Imagine what that money could be used for if invested in God’s favorite investment–PEOPLE! How about helping a lot of people make a house payment so they don’t lose their house? Or feeding thousands of people? Or creating a worthwhile building used 24 hours a day to bless people with many different forms of ministry and Biblical training? Most church buildings have become absolutely worthless while the command to help our neighbor goes unheeded. Old unscriptural traditions die very hard. Please see my latest posts about church buildings. Thank you, Pat!

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