The End of an Era
Long time Church Closing Doors
DIX-- A Jefferson County church is closing its doors after serving the public for nearly 85 years.
According to information from church treasurer Carole Barton, Springer Community Church was founded "around 1924" with initial services held in the old Springer Schollhouse, a half mile from its present location on Dix-Irvington Road. Barton says Ethel Orrill, Alta Braddy, Effie Loyd and American Sunday School Union missionary James Michael started the work at that time.
Services continued to be held at the school until the church was built in 1946 at its present location, when John and Ethel Orril donated the land.
Church history states that Bill and Effie Loyd bought "an old store that was being torn down in Walnut Hill, so the material could be used to build the church." The church was erected with the help of surrounding community members and John Orrill later built a room on the front of the building in the 1950s. In the 1970s, Missionary Ron Hoffman built classrooms on the west side of the building.
Springer Church has been served by missionaries throughout the years from the American Sunday School Union, which eventually became the American Missionary Fellowship. Those who have served are James Michael, Bill Rigby, Lee Cunningham, Mr. and Mrs. James Johnson, Ron and Eileen Hoffman and Tim and Vivian Hoffman, according to information from Barton. Both of the Hoffman families used Springer as their home church and pastored there.
"The church was originally built so children in the very rural community had a place to attend Sunday school and church," information states, "It was a vision of the ladies in the community that the children of the future have a place to learn about Christ."
Barton said Tim Hoffman and her daughters, Daina and Tamara Barton, all attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. She added that many of Springer's founding original three ladies' descendants are "still actively carrying on the Christian faith that was passed down by their mothers, fathers and grandparents."
"It's closing because of financial reasons and the physical condition of the building," said Burton, who has been attending the church "steadily" since she was 17 years old. She has been a church's treasurer for more than 30 years.
The walls and flooring of the building have been bowing out, she noted, and the roof needs major repair among other things. However, any salvageable items within the church will be used by the American Mission Fellowship for other churches or missions.
"We hope some day we can get organized and put in another church," Barton said.
As a way to celebrate the history of the church and the services it has provided to the community, a Rememberance Service will be held Sunday at 3 p.m.
"Sunday's going to be a real tear-jerker," Barton remarked. "There are people coming from Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Missouri and all over Illinois. One thing about life, it changes. You don't quit, you just move on. God's good, he'll take care of it."
Source: Mt. Vernon Register News
Sat.- Sun. May 16-17, 2009
Submitted By: Cindy Ford
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