Antioch Church reopens its doors

(Top) Antioch Church Pastor Mary Carr gives a brief message and thanks to the volunteers and donors for their work in restoring Antioch Church, surrounded by other ministers and pastors during the open house.
Staff Writer

After nearly being condemned by the city in October, Antioch Church has reopened its doors after months of renovations through the help of numerous volunteers and donors.

Antioch Church celebrated the end of the renovations Friday afternoon with a service and open house.

First Baptist Church Starkville member and volunteer in the project Danny Cheatham said the renovation project began at the end of November and continued on until the end of May, totaling 87 partial and whole days of work on the church.

Antioch Church Pastor Mary Carr said even with the poor state of the building, services were still being held prior to the renovation.

Once the renovations began, Carr said, the church members gathered in a side room of the building for services and were invited in by other churches in the community until they were able to return to their home church.

"It was not a one-person project," Cheatham said. "It was a community project. There were nearly 70 volunteers and 55 to 60 people who gave financial contributions in as much as $15,000 in terms of cash."

Cheatham said financial donations ranged from $50 to $2,700, and material contributions to the project were also made.

According to Cheatham, six businesses were involved in the renovation: North East Mississippi Exterminating, Bell Building Supply, Copper-Top Roofing, Triangle Dry Wall Supply, Discount Building Materials, Simply Home and Granite Guys.

Two general contractors, Terry Jones and Allan Smith, along with Carpenters for Christ, FBC Starkville, Pine Lake Churches in Starkville and Brandon, Antioch Church, Starkville Christian School students, Brandon Hogan, Stan Coleman, Ricky Scarborough, Wayne and Shank Phelps, Dayle Reed, John Yarborough, Paul Goodin, Joe Shurden, Louis Jenkins, Doug James, Leroy Rushing, David Smith, and John Outlaw all volunteered their time and services to the renovation of the church.

"These are just some of the individuals who were instrumental and the heart and should of what we did here," Cheatham said.

Louis Jenkins, another volunteer on the project, said just some of the renovations include: roof repair, new doors and windows, new flooring and repairs, sheetrock repair and new paint, remodeled bathrooms and plumbing, new electrical work, termite damage repair, and new heaters, fans and lighting.

Some of the special donations include a recycled, antique door from another church, tongue and groove paneling on the ceiling and a hand-made wooden cross hanging behind the pulpit.

"It wasn't so much the resources we had, it was the resources God had for us," Carr said.

Cheatham said he had his doubts about being able to complete the project, but every need was met.

"There were a lot of times I went to bed at night not sure where we would get the money or the skilled labor to do this job, but I never ever failed to get what we needed, which tells me the Holy Spirit was involved in this and the Good Lord was guiding our efforts and we were able to get it done," Cheatham said.

The historic church on East Gillespie Street will celebrate its 106th anniversary on July 15.

Carr said she and the members of the church are forever grateful for the work the community has done and how the project strengthened the faith of many who took part in it.

"I just love them, and they will forever, forever and ever be a friend of ours here at this church," Carr said. "Always."