Abandoned Church Brings Community Together

By Eric Olson

September 30, 2011 Updated Sep 30, 2011 at 2:05 PM EDT

ALBION, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--They dot the countryside, little houses of worship all boarded up...their congregations long gone along with their usefulness. Sweet Church up in Noble County was doomed to such a fate, empty for forty years until a group of neighbors pooled their resources and bought it…spent weekends fixing the walls and roof, even restoring the original brass bell…turning the little building into the Sweet Church Community Center, launching it into a new era of public service.

“It’s made Jefferson Township a little closer I think,” says volunteer Ed Sprague, “sort of folksy but we need a little more of that.”

On this day those neighbors are adding to their community center, building an annex that will include restrooms, a kitchen and storage space. It’s a sign of just how successful the center has been, filling the basic human need for fellowship. People gather here regularly for concerts, square dances, ice cream socials…even weddings. Some of them worshiped here as children half a century or more ago.

“We have a homecoming coming up October 9th and people that used to go to church here, still come to the homecoming,” says Sprague. “We help ‘em all get inside so they can reminisce a little bit. But we got 80, 85, 90 year old people coming to that thing.”

Across the road in the cemetery rest the people who built Sweet Church in 1875, were baptized in it, married in it, eulogized in it. And now witness its rebirth as a place where their descendants come to celebrate life and each other. Just as they did in a different way, in a different time. Eric Olson reporting, out in Your Country.

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