Wayfaring church finds home


By Terri Flagg - [email protected]



Nazrel Bell clutches his hammer in this photo of the church he recently helped restore.


Terri Flagg | The News

Nazrel Bell looks at the restored vestibule area of God's Family Temple Christian Church which a couple of months ago featured a hole in the floor.


Terri Flagg | The News

This photo shows the vestibule and restroom area at God's Family Temple Christian Church prior to restoration.


Submitted

Nazrel Bell crumbles a piece of rotted wood that came from the floor of the Split Rail Lane church he recently helped restore.


Terri Flagg | The News

Nazrel Bell holds the building permit required to restore a condemned church on Split Rail Lane in Mount Airy.


Terri Flagg | The News

This photo show's the God's Family Temple Christian Church sign set outside the church's new location on Split Rail Lane in Mount Airy.


Terri Flagg | The News

When Harold Small started God’s Family Temple Christian Church, the pastor’s dining room table served as sanctuary.

The nine years following led the congregation through four new locations, but that journey has apparently come to a conclusion.

On Oct. 23, the congregation worshiped together for the first time in the sanctuary of a formerly condemned church on Split Rail Lane.

“We’ve really come a long way,” said Small, and so has the “new” church building, which had been abandoned and condemned for more than a decade.

According to a 1993 article published in The News, the church had been built by pioneer members of Payne’s Memorial Holiness Church in the early 1920s, which eventually moved to its current facility on Marshall Farm Road in the 1950s.

After already changing locations twice, Small had again started property hunting recently after the owner of the church on Starlite Road sold the building. In his search, Small became aware of the damaged church on Split Rail Lane.

“We tried for it and God blessed us, but there was work to be done,” he said.

A lot of work.

The building had been condemned due to major repairs needed to the front vestibule area, which also houses men and women’s restrooms. A licensed contractor was needed to obtain a building permit to make the repairs.

“We were wondering how in the world we were ever going to pay for all of this,” Small said.

In the meantime the congregation worshiped in the old church’s fellowship hall, and a solution eventually emerged.

A member of the congregation told Small that her son, Nazrel Bell, was a contractor who might be able to help.

Bell, who owns and operates N.B. High Quality Construction, happily took on the project.

“That’s who I am,” he said, noting that other contractors had quoted the church $27,000 to $35,000 for the work.

“I just wanted to do it for free.”

Bell seemed amazed walking through the church last week, stepping on new floors, opening new restroom doors which revealed pristine toilets and sinks.

“It was about to go,” he said of the church’s condition. “There was a big old hole in the floor,” he continued, “if you reached under there, the wood was like sand.”

Bell said it took him two days to get a building permit, which was obtained Aug. 23.

Though Bell offered his own services for free, he was impressed with many other contractors, business owners and even churches who also donated their time, labor and money to the restoration.

“I just wanted to give thanks,” he said, explaining how Cooke Rentals, Spencer Funeral Home, Walmart and O’Reilly Auto Parts contributed.

He was especially thankful to Barnes Electric and Nichols Plumbing, Bell said.

“I just started working with these guys, and they were willing to do this,” he said. “I had to hug my electrician. I was blown away.”

The church also held fundraising events such as cookouts and car washes to pay for materials, with members chipping in with labor as well.

“We had a wonderful time,” Small said. “We appreciated all the friends that came over and put hammer to nail.”

On Oct. 20 the building was cleared for occupancy.

“It’s been a journey,” Small said. “I believe this experience has drawn us closer and closer together. We just had an awesome, spiritual service Sunday morning, a very touching service.”

A member told Small, “Pastor, I feel like I’m at home now,” after the service, “and it brings back to mind when Moses was leading the children of Israel,” he said. “They were complaining and murmuring about things that weren’t. But God promised Moses the promised land. And I feel like we have reached the place where God wants us to be.”

Nazrel Bell clutches his hammer in this photo of the church he recently helped restore.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_161027_NazrelBell-R1.jpgNazrel Bell clutches his hammer in this photo of the church he recently helped restore. Terri Flagg | The News

Nazrel Bell looks at the restored vestibule area of God’s Family Temple Christian Church which a couple of months ago featured a hole in the floor.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_161027_NazrelBell-R2.jpgNazrel Bell looks at the restored vestibule area of God’s Family Temple Christian Church which a couple of months ago featured a hole in the floor. Terri Flagg | The News

This photo shows the vestibule and restroom area at God’s Family Temple Christian Church prior to restoration.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_161027_NazrelBell-R3.jpgThis photo shows the vestibule and restroom area at God’s Family Temple Christian Church prior to restoration. Submitted

Nazrel Bell crumbles a piece of rotted wood that came from the floor of the Split Rail Lane church he recently helped restore.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_161027_NazrelBell-R4.jpgNazrel Bell crumbles a piece of rotted wood that came from the floor of the Split Rail Lane church he recently helped restore.Terri Flagg | The News

Nazrel Bell holds the building permit required to restore a condemned church on Split Rail Lane in Mount Airy.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_161027_NazrelBell-R5.jpgNazrel Bell holds the building permit required to restore a condemned church on Split Rail Lane in Mount Airy. Terri Flagg | The News

This photo show’s the God’s Family Temple Christian Church sign set outside the church’s new location on Split Rail Lane in Mount Airy.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/web1_161027_NazrelBell-R6.jpgThis photo show’s the God’s Family Temple Christian Church sign set outside the church’s new location on Split Rail Lane in Mount Airy. Terri Flagg | The News

By Terri Flagg

[email protected]

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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