Methodist building donated by Presbyterians to Baptists

Published 11:27 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

Churches are known for giving to others in a time of need. On Tuesday, one church in Faunsdale donated an entire church to give another church a more permanent home.

On Tuesday, the Faunsdale Presbyterian Church had the Methodist church building that was located on an adjacent lot moved from its location on Ala. Highway 25 to the site of the original First Baptist Church on Church Street.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2009, the First Baptist Church of Faunsdale was destroyed by fire.

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The building dated back to 1890, spanning generations of family members who attended the church. For more than a century, its congregation called that church home.

The church that the First Baptist Church is getting is the same age as its predecessor, having been built around 1888.

“(The Methodist Church) had a small congregation, and they all joined with the Presbyterian Church,” said First Baptist Church deacon Claude Lewis. “That building was vacant, so they gave us that church.”

Having an extra church building to give was a rare luxury for any church to have. That came about when the congregation of the Methodist Church dwindled over time.

“There were two churches side by side in Faunsdale: the Presbyterian and the Methodist,” said Gail Rankin, the president of the Women In the Church at the Faunsdale Presbyterian Church. “For years, back since the 1940s, the first and third Sundays were Presbyterian, and the second and fourth Sundays were Methodist — the same congregation, because there wasn’t enough people to support two churches.

“This went on for years and years, and sometime in 2003 or 2004, all of the Methodist members had either died or moved away. So, arrangements were made for the Presbyterian Church to take ownership of the Methodist Church building so it wouldn’t just sit there and rot.”

Presbyterian Church officials got together and decided that they had a church to spare and decided to give it to the First Baptist Church.

“We thought it was kind of unnecessary for us to have two church buildings and they didn’t have any at all,” Rankin said. “So, arrangements were made for us to give the Methodist Church building to the First Baptist Church with the stipulation that it be moved. There’s not enough parking for their congregation and ours, too.”

Faunsdale Presbyterian Church agreed to pay the expenses for moving the church, while the First Baptist Church of Faunsdale would provide the foundation. The building is still on supports while the Baptist church works to provide the foundation.

“We’ve still got to do some foundation work,” Lewis said. “We also have to do a few minor repairs to it. Hopefully in a month-and-a-half or two months, we’ll be ready to be back in that building.”

The Presbyterian Church’s generosity and Christian attitude was far from lost on the members of the First Baptist Church.

“I can’t say enough for those people,” Lewis said. “They are a true Christian congregation. They gave us the church and paid to have it moved. It was enough for them to just give us the church. For them to give it to us and then have it moved was a wonderful thing. I have nothing but praise for those people. They did something that I’ve never heard of. You just don’t hear about that every day.

“What they did for us, we can’t even start to try to repay them. The only thing we can do is say, ‘Thank you.’ We really appreciate it. I talked to their pastor, George McKey, and I expressed to him how happy and grateful we were. I also talked to their deacons, George Kelley and Will Akin, and expressed the same thing to them. But, you can’t say ‘Thank you’ enough!”

A house divided upon itself cannot stand, but houses divided among churches make the congregations stronger.