Historical Church building gets new life

Published 3:59 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Column

Eddie and Anginette Arrington, originally of Alabaster, moved to Chilton County a few years ago to get away from the “hustle and bustle” of booming city life.

“We love it here,” said Pastor Eddie. “It was getting so crowded in Alabaster. There are subdivisions being built onto subdivisions. They keep adding on. We wanted to move to the countryside. It’s so peaceful here.”

The Arringtons former church appointment had been in Vincent, and he felt compelled to start a new church congregation in Chilton County. He converted a small building in Thorsby to be used for Sunday worship but after the congregation began meeting the city of Thorsby closed the church’s doors for not being zoned for a church.

Arrington continued to feel God’s calling to form a new congregation. He and his wife drove by 161 Thomas Street in Jemison several times.

“I was always drawn to the church building as a possible dream, future location but the building was not for sale — until recently!” Pastor Eddie said.

When the Arrington’s inquired with the listing realtor, their approval and closing was approved quickly. Now in ownership, the Arrington’s plan to begin Bible studies, hold Sunday worship services and bring vitality back to the building within the coming weeks.

According to “The Heritage of Chilton County, Alabama,” the land was originally sold for the new construction of Jemison Episcopal South Church in 1887. The original church location had been at Pine Hill (a few miles south on Highway 31), but the old building at Pine Hill required significant repair; forming the Jemison Episcopal South Church’s new location on Thomas Street.

During the 1990s, the Methodist congregation in the community faded away. The United Methodist Church sold the building in 1996. It has since served short-lived seasons for various churches, a wedding chapel and delicatessen.

Now known as “Holy Temple Tabernacle,” the Arringtons said that the church is open to all walks of people in the community, regardless of race or age. It is a church for “everyone.”

“Holiness is a way of life,” Pastor Eddie said. We believe what Peter preached in Acts 2:38, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ This is not a religion — it is Jesus’s promise.”

A “grand opening” evening worship service has been planned for June 12 at 4 p.m., and the community is welcome to attend.

“Bishop Johnnie Harris of Faith Temple Deliverance in Montgomery will be our special guest that afternoon,” Anginette said. “I am cooking a big dinner they will be served after the service. We want everyone to come be part of it.”

After June 12, Holy Temple Tabernacle Sunday School will begin at 9:45 a.m. Worship services will start at 11:15 a.m.