Little church dedicated

Published 9:00 am Friday, October 15, 2010

Harold Cook, left, Bill Vick, Jim Owens and Karen Kinney participate in the ribbon cutting. -- Merle Monahan | Tidewater News


COURTLAND—More than 100 people attended the Oct. 3 dedication ceremony of the Agriculture and Forestry Museum/Heritage Village’s newest addition, the Little Country Church.

The tiny sanctuary was filled to capacity, with nearly one-third as many more people seated under a tent outside. Although the weather was damp and chilly, the rain held off until after the ceremony.

The Little Country Church at the Agriculture and Forestry Museum/Heritage Village was dedicated on Oct. 3. -- Merle Monahan

“This is a great day,” said Master of Ceremonies Bill Vick, chairman of the museum board. “Our Little Country Church is complete.”

“We started building the church in May, with hopes of completing it by Heritage Day in September,” Vick continued. “Well, we did. Despite temperatures reaching 100 degrees on some days, our construction crew never slowed down. Volunteers from the museum worked on their days off, on Saturdays and sometimes into the night, while a group of young men from the Southampton Detention Center also helped during the day.”

“The young men, in fact, took such an interest in helping to build the church, that they were invited to and attended the dedication ceremony,” he added. “All the hard work paid off. The church was open to the public on Heritage Day and we’re assembled here today for its dedication.”

Construction of the church, a replica from the mid-1800s, became a necessity when an old church could not be found to house church furniture donated to the village.

Marvin and Sarah Worrell from Como, N.C., area donated furnishings from the old New Hope Methodist Church, which stood near their home. The church closed because of lack of attendance, and its furnishings, including pulpit chairs, lectern, pews, communion table, a piano and organ, were salvaged and stored by the Worrells.

He and his wife donated the furniture to the museum in 2008, after which museum members cleaned and refurbished it. The furniture was then placed in a side room of the museum.

But members felt the furniture needed to be in a church.

Randal Branch, chairman of the church building committee, secured photos of old churches and contacted contractor Jim Owens, who had built similar structures. About a dozen members volunteered, including Al Briggs, Jimmie O’Berry, Laurel Livingston, Edward Kinney, Jim Bryant, Dennis Burgess, Harold Cook, Joshua Thurman, Dori Forrest and Vick. The finished church is complete with an old-time pot-bellied stove and a bell in the steeple, also from the old church.

Master of ceremonies Bill Vick, left, and the Rev. Hoyle Green, pastor of Sunbeam Baptist Church. -- Merle Monahan | Tidewater News

During the short ceremony, Vick thanked all who had donated items in honor and in memory of people. The front doors were given by Glenn and Lynda Updike. Gilbert and Mildred Branche, H.B. and Anne Bryant, Tom and Nancy Cogsdale, John Robert and Louise Harrup, Glynn Parker, and J.C. and Pat Williams donated the inside windows.

Bill and Eunice Vick gave the front windows, William and Helen Howell gave the inside lights and Jean Barker donated the front outside lights. A handicapped ramp was given by J.R. and June Forrest, and Betty Jane Gray. Billy and Jackie Howell gave a special donation.

Vick also thanked outside contractors.

An arrangement of flowers was placed on the communion table in honor of the Worrells and in honor and memory of those who worshipped at the former New Hope Methodist Church.

After several selections on piano by Peggy Simmons, remarks by Owens and a musical duet by Annie Ray and James Hall, the Rev. Hoyal Green dedicated the church. Members then participated in the ribbon cutting.

“We are grateful to all who had a hand in making this little church a reality,” said Vick. “We joke that almost everything inside was donated, except the preacher. Well, we plan to use the church on special occasions. It shouldn’t be hard to find a preacher.”