April 9, 2014 — A near-century old church is reopening its doors this week after a bitter winter forced the congregation out.
The Gospel Tabernacle Church in Hitchins will hold its first service of the spring tonight, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
“We had to close the doors in October,” Donna Holbrook told the Journal-Times. “The natural gas heat wouldn't stay lit and we found out a crack was causing a very dangerous situation.”
She is the wife of David Holbrook, who pastors the church. She said replacement wall units were not enough to heat the large church, which was originally built as Mary Spears Memorial Presbyterian Church.
“Once the church turns 100, we will try to get it registered as an historic site,” Mrs. Holbrook said. “Then, if it is repaired, the brick has to come from the same brickyard, right across the road in Hitchins.”
The pastor said he hopes new members will feel comfortable attending his services.
“We believe that everyone should have a place and opportunity to use their God-given gifts,” he said. “Most of all, we want to serve the lost, needy, brokenhearted, and those who have been discouraged from going to church.”
Mrs. Holbrook said many people in the community do not feel comfortable in a large church environment.
“Some people in this area get fancy – here we don't want people to feel out of place,” she said. “We want the people who have problems. We want to reach out to those who no one reaches out to.”
The group began working on the church last May, completing improvement projects in order to hold services.
“We have fought hard for this little church and it feels like home,” Mrs. Holbrook said. “It was so disheartening to close the door in the fall. The harder we tried, the more things happened to close it. We feel like the church is needed there and we will do our best to make sure it stays open.”
Sunday services begin at 11a.m. and 6 p.m.
Leeann Akers can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 474-5101.