Tennille UMS dedicates new sanctuary

Published 6:33 pm Monday, July 1, 2013

Friends gathered at an old country church Sunday to dedicate the recent addition to the Tennille United Methodist Church sanctuary to the Glory of God.

The church has beaconed worshipers to Sunday services by the ringing of the bell since 1915.

In the early days, the one-room church would overflow. But about 10 years ago, the congregation had dwindled to about six and a few more on a “good Sunday.”

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But the members of Tennille church kept the faith and membership has climbed to 34 with an average attendance at Sunday worship service at 85.

“A couple of years ago, we bought 10 pews and put them in and started filling them up,” said Freddie Turner, church treasurer. “Some Sundays, we had a hundred or more and we were running out of places to sit. So, when we had an opportunity to buy a little over two acres near the church and two old houses and Carrie Holder’s house, we decided to go ahead and do it.

“We were thinking that we could use the wood from the old houses to add on to the church. We really need the room.”

Turner said, in so doing, it was the goal of the church membership not to compromise the architectural integrity of the “old country church.”

“The land for Tennille Methodist Church was purchased in 1912 and the church was dedicated in 1915, so it took three years to build the church,” Turner said. “Back then, people had to go in the woods, cut down the trees, drag the logs out and take them to the saw mill. A lot of hard work and dedication went into building the church. We wanted the addition to fit right in, to look just like the original sanctuary.”

The work crew, made up of church members and friends, dismantled one of the old houses on the property the church purchased and salvaged the wood.

“That house was probably 140 years old and we were able to salvage enough wood for the 18×32 foot addition – the walls, the ceiling and the floors – with the exception of a 28-foot I-beam that came out of Dr. Edge’s home in Troy,” Turner said. “All of the labor was donated. We had church members, friends and neighbors from Dothan, Chancellor, Ariton and Troy come to help. It was a labor of love.”

When completed, the addition did “fit in” even down to the paint on the wall. It had been hammered and nailed and loved right into place.

The church purchased eight large pews for the sanctuary extension and, on Sunday, all church pews were filled with friends of the old country church.

“We think we can seat about 150 and we had 118 or more on Sunday,” Turner said. “

Under the leadership of our pastor, Jim Powell, we continue to grow. God has richly blessed us here at Tennille United Methodist Church.

The sanctuary was built with love and so was this addition. The church is dedicated to the Glory of God. We praise Him for bringing us together at this old country church.”