where tradition, liturgy and reason meet compassion, justice and transformation

Moving Tradition: St Philip’s Germanton to the Advocate Chapel Hill.


In late October 2011, the Historic Properties Commission of the Diocese realized that St. Philip’s Church in Germanton, long without a congregation, no longer had an organized committee to tend to it, either. Plans were in the works to sell the building as well as the land on which it stands. Determined to save the church building and restore it to its original purpose as a consecrated place of worship, the Commission contacted the Church of the Advocate in Chapel Hill, a church with plans to build a small worship space on the land acquired earlier in the year, but without the means to begin that building.

Thus began the process of discovering whether and how the historic church building could be moved from Stokes County to Orange County. What seemed at first like a long shot is seeming more and more like very real possibility—and a serendipitous blessing indeed.

The 19th century board and batten building was built in 1891 for the Episcopal congregation in Germanton, North Carolina, 8 miles northeast of Winston Salem. For the Advocate’s preferred flexible choir seating (we face each other), the building would comfortably seat up to 90 people. This will provide ample space for our morning and evening liturgies for years to come. The historic Episcopal Church would provide a warm and welcoming space for worship, contemplation, small concerts, and plays.

This beautiful little building would allow the Church of the Advocate to worship on the land and be free of paying rent for the first time in our existence. Perhaps most importantly, it would be a center for the Advocate’s hospitality to those who are near and those who are far off.

Here’s what it will look like alongside the existing house on the Advocate’s site:

Mike Blake, of Blake Moving Company (famous for “Moving Midway”), has given us a preliminary estimate of  $233,000 to deconstruct, move, and reconstruct the church—far less than building from scratch.

Infrastructure required to meet town code—providing accessibility, parking, sewer and sidewalk—and to upgrade of the existing house on the site–so it can be used for office, fellowship, and meetings–will all cost an additional $250,000.

In other words, we will reuse and bring new life to two buildings, rather than tearing down one to build another. The total cost of the project is roughly $500,000. 

This is a lot of money for our small church. To complete this project we will need the support of friends, businesses and organizations. We will need loans.

We bid your prayers for wisdom, discernment, patience and a spirit of generosity. We bid your financial support!

To make a donation, click here.

For answers to Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

To see an Anticipated Timeline for the project, click here.

To read and see an article in the Diocese of North Carolina Disciple magazine, click here.

For a link to an article in the Winston Salem Journal on Friday, February 10, click here.

For more photos, click here.

Completed in the early 1890s, the church is a nearly unaltered representative of the small Gothic Revival board-and-batten churches built across America during the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Influenced by works such as Rural Architecture (1852) by Richard Upjohn, these churches used board-and-batten construction to achieve the vertical essence of the Gothic style. The interior of St. Philip’s remains as it was built including the original kerosene lamps, woodstove, and furniture. … St. Philip’s Episcopal Church is an excellently preserved example of late nineteenth century ecclesiastical architecture in a small town setting. From nomination for inclusion on National Registry of Historical Places, 1981

 

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