Church furniture finds new home in Ag and Forestry Museum

Published 11:53 pm Thursday, December 11, 2008

COMO, N.C.—Volunteers from the Southampton Agriculture and Forestry Museum and the Southampton County Historical Society made a trip to Como, N.C., on Tuesday to accept the donation of the contents of a small, rural church.

Marvin Worrell purchased the furniture from New Hope Methodist Church in Como when it closed several years ago. Worrell said he had originally wrapped the furniture and stored it in a barn. The pulpit was briefly donated in 1987 to Grace Memorial Methodist Church in Sedley after a fire. Grace returned the pulpit after they received new furnishings. Worrell then converted a smokehouse on his farm into a makeshift church, complete with a working bell tower.

Worrell has since donated the church’s furniture to the Southampton Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Courtland.

Volunteers took several Victorian pieces, including altar chairs and pews, and two small pianos from Worrell’s church building and secured them to pickup trucks for the drive back to Courtland. Numerous pictures, figurines, and sheet music were also donated by Worrell.

“We wanted one of everything when we opened up (the Agriculture and Forestry Museum),” said Lynda Updike, president of the Southampton County Historical Society. “There are two things we don’t have: We don’t have a barber shop, and we don’t have a church. So now the church is our next project. Maybe somebody will donate an old barber shop.”

Updike said that the contents of the church would be moved to one of the newer museum buildings and set up to determine how large a church replica would need to be.

The museum plans to someday construct a church replica on the museum grounds, probably between an existing building and the one-room school. The church would face the road that comes to the museum.

“We hope that one day people will want to get married in our little church,” Updike said.