Walnut Street Church undergoing expansion

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 30, 2004

Anyone who has driven past Greenville’s Walnut Street Church of Christ in the past couple of weeks can easily see something big is going on. An ambitious building plan is underway that will give the local church a new look while meeting the needs of its growing congregation.

A big project

&uot;This is a major reconstruction for us,&uot; Walnut Street’s pastor for 18 years, Charles Box, confirms. The need for additional space prompted his congregation to consider several alternatives, he says.

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&uot;At one point, we considered simply re-locating to another site – but my folks all said they really wanted to stay here at Walnut Street. They think it’s a wonderful location,&uot; he explains.

It was mutually decided the church would ‘stay put’, and the necessary demolition and construction work got underway on site.

Work inside the church actually began about three-and-a-half months ago and the project should be completed in another &uot;six months or less&uot;, Box says.

Birth pangs

In the meantime, his congregation has been experiencing &uot;birth pangs&uot; as they dealt with the dust and disarray inevitably caused by a major remodeling project.

&uot;In our first phase, there were crews working inside the back area of our church over the past few months, remodeling classrooms and our food pantry.

Everything got shifted around, but we continued with church services and activities as usual…it was difficult, but somehow we managed,&uot; he says.

Box is pleased at how smoothly the building project has gone so far.

&uot;We did lose a few shingles with Hurricane Ivan, but since we are re-doing the roof, too, that really wasn’t a problem…so far everything is going well and it’s on target.&uot;

He is quick to commend his congregation for their &uot;loving, wonderful spirit&uot; throughout the entire project.

&uot;They really are a great group of people,&uot; Box says.

A long history

Walnut Street Church of Christ first met at its present site nearly a century ago, on Sept. 19, 1909 (records indicate members had previously met in a location downtown). &uot;There were forty-three original members…they met at this building, in the part which has just been torn down,&uot; Box says.

Some of Walnut Street Church of Christ’s first trustees were John Donn, Thomas Stallings, Frank Creech, Charlie Ernest, Ennis Hartley and Adolphus Butts.

&uot;Originally the Sunday School classes were taught in the four corners of the church and its vestibule…later on two classes were added to the back of the building,&uot; Box explains.

According to Box, the church’s congregation has nearly quadrupled in size (200 members) since the early days of its history. Though changes have been made to the church building over the years, Box says the facilities simply were no longer meeting the needs of his flock.

&uot;We really needed space for additional classrooms – and we just didn’t have adequate space for any fellowship events. This building project will provide of with all of that,&uot; says Box.

‘An exciting time’

&uot;This has been an exciting time for our church and everyone has had such a good attitude along the way,&uot; the pastor says.

&uot;We really do have a wonderful group of caring, giving people here at Walnut Street Church of Christ. I know that’s not such an unusual thing to find here in Butler County; it’s pretty typical of a lot of the people. But I have found it especially true here at our church,&uot; Box comments.