PANGBURN At 11 o’clock this morning, the congregation at Pangburn First Baptist Church will bid a final farewell to its old sanctuary. The congregation will have worship service in the old sanctuary for the last time, ever. The building will be prepared for demolition within the next few months, but the church members will say goodbye to the old building with the service and a potluck lunch.
The church’s minister, Alan Cook, said the building is more than 100 years old and was moved to its current location on the corner of Second and Short streets in 1912. The sanctuary can pack about 100 people inside, and Cook said there have been a lot of weddings, baptisms and meetings in there.
“It was one of the first churches in Pangburn,” he said. “It was built by the Lewis brothers as a Nazarene church near Henderson Cemetery around 1900.”
The Lewis brothers owned a sawmill near Pangburn in the late 1800s, but Cook said he wasn’t clear on their first names.
After the Baptist church purchased the building and had it moved, it served as the sanctuary until 1977; then the structure was turned into classrooms when a new sanctuary was built.
The old church will no longer be used because repairing its major structural problems would be cost prohibitive for the church’s budget.
“The floor is giving way, and there are a lot of structural problems,” Cook said. “Time has caught up with it.”
The reason, he said, that the church chose to build a new sanctuary in 1977 stemmed from a revival held in 1975 by Henry Applegate, a Southern Baptist minister.
The revival was such a success, Cook said, that the congregation grew tremendously.
“The church grew enormously during that year, and they had to build,” Cook said. “This old building has served as a sanctuary, a Sunday School classroom and a church office. There has been a lot of counseling and ministry, too.”
Recounting some old notes and minutes from meetings, Cook said, there were several other reasons a new building was necessary.
“It got so warm in the building that people would fall asleep during the summertime,” he said. “
And the grass grew up through the floor, so in 1925, oak hardwood floor was put down. They took the old bell tower down years ago. We’d like to find the bell, but we have no idea what happened to it.”
He said he also found copies of some old electric bills that were each around $2.
“We have gone in and stripped it down to the original look of the sanctuary,” he said. “We will take the stained-glass window and preserve it, and when we build a new building, we will incorporate [the window] and some of the rock into the new building.”
At the worship service, Cook said, he will do a final baptism. An 8-year-old boy will be baptized in the same church as his great-grandfather, who will attend the service. Although Cook said that back then the congregation would walk to the creek for a baptism, he said he would do this morning’s baptism in an old watering trough.
“We just want to say thank you for all the years, and the ministry it helped produce,” Cook said about the old building.
Staff writer Jeanni Brosius can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.