By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community column
Eddie and Anginette Arrington, originally from Alabaster, moved to Chilton County a few years ago to get away from the “hustle and bustle” of booming city life.
“We love this place,” Pastor Eddie said. “There were so many people in Alabaster. There are subdivisions built upon subdivisions. They keep adding. We wanted to move to the countryside. It’s so peaceful here.
The old church appointment in Arringtons had been to Vincent, and he felt compelled to start a new church congregation in Chilton County. He converted a small building in Thorsby to be used for Sunday worship, but after the congregation began to meet, the town of Thorsby closed the church gates so as not to be zoned for a church.
Arrington continued to feel God’s call to form a new congregation. He and his wife passed by 161 Thomas Street in Jemison several times.
“I’ve always been drawn to the church building as a possible dream, future location, but the building wasn’t for sale – until recently!” said Pastor Eddie.
When the Arringtons inquired with the listing realtor, their approval and closing was approved quickly. Now owned, the Arringtons plan to begin Bible studies, hold Sunday worship services and revitalize the building in the coming weeks.
According to “The Heritage of Chilton County, Alabama”, the land was originally sold for the new construction of the Jemison South Episcopal Church in 1887. The church’s original location was at Pine Hill (at a few miles south of Highway 31), but the old Pine Hill building needed major repairs; forming the new location of the South Jemison Episcopal Church on Thomas Street.
During the 1990s, the community’s Methodist congregation faded away. The United Methodist Church sold the building in 1996. It has since served short seasons for various churches, a wedding chapel, and a deli.
Now known as the ‘Holy Temple Tabernacle’, the Arringtons said the church is open to all walks of life in the community, regardless of race or age. It is a church for “everyone”.
“Holiness is a way of life,” Pastor Eddie said. We believe what Peter preached in Acts 2:38: “Repent and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s not a religion, it’s the promise of Jesus.
A “grand opening” evening worship service is scheduled for June 12 at 4 p.m., and the community is invited to attend.
“Bishop Johnnie Harris of Faith Temple Deliverance in Montgomery will be our special guest that afternoon,” Anginette said. “I am preparing a big dinner, they will be served after the service. We want everyone to come and be a part of it.
After June 12, Holy Temple Tabernacle Sunday School will begin at 9:45 a.m. Worship services will begin at 11:15 a.m.