If ever there was a time when news about generosity, kindness, and cooperation might serve as guidons for Americans, it’s certainly right now.
The story behind a growing church family congregating at 213 N. Main Street in Eolia bears a metaphorical signal flag that indicates all will eventually be well again.
In July of 2014, a handful of people gathered on a farm in an empty garage to lift up their faith in fellowship. Within six months, the number of congregants had grown sizably to need more room to meet. Enter Mr. Clay Lockhard, owner of the Magee Fur and Root Company who offered the expanding group the use of his property.
The business agreement between the two parties was both timely and generous. Temporary rental came in a miraculously reasonable offer in October of 2015. Lockard requested that, if the renters were willing to pay the cost of utilities, they’d be welcome to meet there until the buildings sold.
Simultaneously, the original Christian Church of Eolia’s congregation numbers had waned to five people. The church building itself needed much work in repairs in order to be usable for both the existing Christian Church and the folks of the garage-then-warehouse fold.
The saying goes that many hands make for light work. However, persistence provided even greater value to the project. Firstly, voluntary labor began on furnace repairs. Then, an anonymous donor far from the local area was inspired to replace the roofing -- free of cost.
The burgeoning congregation also sought to acquire land surrounding the church. Results to inquiries were not forthcoming, and the idea seemed to be going nowhere fast.
However, out of the blue a phone call came from the landowner. Church leaders made a reasonable offer which was quickly declined. Unbelievably, the landowner preferred to ask for thousands less in payment.
The cycle of miracles once again continued to expand.
The old church was saved, and progress moved onward.
Improvements on the building continued, and the congregation grew in kind. During the ensuing years, members saw a need to create a larger space than what the little church had to offer.
When the need for expansion seemed imminent, church leaders joined cooperatively to ponder the notion of preparing for a second building.
People like Terry Eivins, Building Oversight Committee member, believed that the pocketful of miracles might very likely continue to multiply. All tacitly agreed that progress would be made but only by “doing it on the Lord’s time.”
Without fail, volunteers continued the hard work of planning for additional growth by steadfastly committing to avoid falling into debt. Stick by stick and nail by nail, hopes were gradually becoming reality.
Just a few weeks ago in September of the current year, advancement to the construction stage of setting trusses and positioning a large portico has occurred. The interior of the building will eventually become not only a sanctuary but also a multi-purpose room as well.
The prediction is that perhaps another year will pass before the new church is finished and ready for move-in. But the exact time and process for completion are open to conjecture and dependent upon available resources.
The dedicated folks of the New Life Christian Church continue to rely on patience and faith. It seemed fitting that, at the time of the interview for this article, Eivins observed that “we will follow where God leads us.”