A Tale of Two Brownstones

Two brownstone church buildings once stood in our downtown, a few blocks from each other.

They had once been vibrant communities.

Both sat empty for years.

Last Sunday, we drove past one as it was in the process of being torn down. Piles of rubble surrounded the facade.

We were on our way to the other–about to reopen, refurbished, restored.

I’d driven past both many times over the years. Sometimes I prayed for the second one. One of my sons-in-law had led renovations of the building’s kitchen when he was earning his Eagle Scout award years before.

More than two decades ago I worked in a nearby town writing for the local newspaper, editing the weekly religion page. I got to know a neighborhood pastor. His heart is one of pure ministry. Four years ago, he founded Center City Church. But the church wasn’t in the center of our city.

Now it is.

This past Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, the brownstone was alive with prayer, praise, and worship. It was the fourth anniversary of the founding of Center City Church. And the celebration of the first Sunday at its new location.

A guest pastor preached. His wife had grown up attending the brownstone. At age 95, he was celebrating 82 years of faith and a lifetime of ministry.

We sat under electric lights another son-in-law installed.

History ambles along. Cities’ skylines shift.

But sometimes history reaches back to grab a thread and hang onto a piece of the past.

Resurrection comes for places too.

Welcome to your new/old place, Center City Church.

Photo Credit: Nancy E. Head, Center City Church, May 23, 2021

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

14 Replies to “A Tale of Two Brownstones”

  1. Amazing how the old can become new again. Just like our bodies. Our old body will leave and a new body in Christ will arise.

    1. And somehow, this restored brownstone is a beautiful picture of that. We saw emptiness and inactivity. God brought life back. Thanks, Melissa! God bless!

  2. Amazing how a little love saved one of the buildings. Shows how love and attention can make a difference. Thanks for sharing this story

  3. Nancy, such a beautiful picture of resurrection and new life. Love how you said, “But sometimes history reaches back to grab a thread and hang onto a piece of the past.”

  4. Nancy, what a joy to hear of this restoration! I grew up in an old church and love those buildings and the history they carry.

  5. I mourn when I see churches being torn down from lack of care. I think of all who attended, worshipped, and supported those churches. But subsequent generations couldn’t support their houses of worship and the buildings become abandoned. Your post is uplifting because it shares the joy of resurrection of this church and reminds us of the resurrection of our Lord. Thank you.

Comments are closed.