By Seth Daniel
Whether it’s repairing the old church, hosting recovery meetings or providing a safe place for teens to hang out this fall, the First Church in Charlestown has brought a new energy to the old church on Green Street.
Pastor Erik Maloy and his wife, Sarah, have presided over a busy summer and fall – with major renovations over the summer and big plans for the community this fall.
“I feel like this is such a blessing to have a facility to use,” said Maloy. “I feel God has blessed us with this and we need to use it as a way to bless our church family and the entire community too. We want to minister to Charlestown and meet the needs that are here. Number one, we want to grow our church. Number two, this church is here and we love Charlestown and the people of Charlestown and want to show that by being giving to the community. That’s why we are doing these family events and why we host these 12-step meetings.”
The Church had been dormant for some time with a very small, but dedicated, congregation. Maloy arrived a few years ago and he and his wife have taken stock in the community and gotten involved. Now, as they work to grow their church membership, they are also working to make the First Church a hub of activity in the community.
One of the first steps in doing that, Maloy said, was to fix the building.
That was a tall order.
Even though it was a majestic old structure, it was in dire need of repairs. About a year ago, they put in a brand new kitchen that has served many needs.
Over the summer, though, they were wowed by a mission team that came up to Charlestown from the New Union Baptist Church in Dayton, Tennessee.
Maloy said a pastor at the church, Pastor Keath Butt, is an old friend, and he volunteered to bring a group of about 20 people up from Tennessee in July to do a crash-course renovation on the church.
The result was entirely new wood floors throughout the basement of the church and renovations of the KidsTown Church as well.
“They worked around the clock and they laid down all these wooden floors in about three and a half days,” said Maloy. “They painted and did the flooring. We have a new playroom for the kids now and some great new spaces.”
One thing the renovations have allowed them to do is to kick off a new Teen Night this fall on Fridays. Already, they had one in September and October and they plan to have the events once a month – serving pizza and utilizing a new game room.
There are also other events, such as a Pancake Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 9, and a Free Family Movie Night (The Polar Express) and Pajama Party on Friday Dec. 15.
The also host regular meetings for recovery, such as the Monday through Friday Loonie Noonie and other such groups. Additionally, the Turn It Around youth group utilizes the basement for its Thursday night meetings.
All of it is centered, Maloy said, on bringing the church back to relevancy in the community and growing the congregation at the same time.
“They went from being the biggest Protestant church in Charlestown for years and then just really dwindled,” he said. “We’re trying to bring it back. We’re seeing some growth now and that’s exciting. We want to see it continue to grow and continue to become a bigger part of the community again.”