PRAISE THE ROOFBy Vincent Johnson, Contributing Writer
If you made your way to the Limestone Church of the Brethren off Oakland Road last week, you would not have heard the melodious sounds of a choir singing or the booming voice of a preacher conveying a message to his congregation.
Instead, you would have heard the repetitive pounding of hammers and the sharp sounds of saws cutting through planks of wood.
These are men at work, and they’re on a mission.
Carpenters For Christ is a national Christian-based organization dedicated to helping small churches all over the country complete much needed projects to improve their places of worship.
Ten days out of every summer, different chapters of the group stop at various churches, giving them aid where they need it. They make stops to churches that can afford the materials needed, but cannot afford the labor.
This particular week, this chapter consisting of 45 volunteers journeying from Alabama visited the Limestone Church of the Brethren.
“To have the Carpenters For Christ to come has just been amazing,” said Patty Broyles, who has been a member of the Limestone Church of the Brethren since she was 14. “We’ve prayed two years for this.”
The carpenters were originally intending to only replace the sanctuary floor, which had never been repaired since the one-time schoolhouse was made into a church in 1846.
“The church was about completely on the ground when they got here,” said Jim Griffith, church pastor. “It’s unbelievable. You have no idea what they can accomplish.”
In addition to the floor, Carpenters For Christ also built a new building behind the church to serve as a fellowship hall and classrooms to expand their current youth ministries.
Don Wall is one of the volunteers who worked on the project. Wall is known as the “whistle blower” of the group because he signals when work begins, when workers break and when they finish for the day by blowing a whistle.
“We have many chapters of Carpenters For Christ, from Alabama to Tennessee to Missouri. It was started by a fella in 2002 that saw the need to help out small churches,” Wall said. “We serve the Lord by serving God’s people and we welcome any man that loves Jesus Christ.”
When the state of Alabama was ravaged by the disastrous tornadoes last year, Carpenters For Christ was there to aid in rebuilding a church from the ground up.
Now, many of those same volunteers have headed to Northeast Tennessee to help others in need.
“This is a beautiful area. I love the rolling hills, pastures, and mountains. It doesn’t matter where you are; if you’re surrounded by God’s people, it transcends all barriers,” Wall said. “I can’t think of a better place to be.”