Friday, March 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Loving Chapel

In a day and age when church planners specialize in Modified Morton Building and Butt-Ugly Big-Box, spotting a jolly and welcoming old-timer like Loving Chapel United Methodist Church lifts the spirits.

The building --- located at the intersection of Highways 2 and 65 in Leon, celebrates its 120th birthday this year, providing you start counting from the year inscribed above the front door, although it was not dedicated until the 17th of March 1889.

It's a lovely name for a church, too --- and appropriate for a congregation that was organized on the 14th of February 1851.

But the truth of the matter is, the building was named to honor "Uncle" Billy and "Aunt" Betty Loving, whose $5,000 gift matched $5,000 already raised by parishioners and enabled construction, debt-free, of a church that ended up costing $12,000. Although you get so involved admiring the detail you'd hardly notice, the building is in the shape of a Greek cross designed originally with a large Sunday school room and transepts that could be closed off with sliding doors.

The jaunty bell tower is my favorite feature of a building that obviously still is loved by its congregation which has done a good job of preserving Loving Chapel's friendly spirit.

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