Oak Chapel renovation


About the time Covid reared its ugly head early in 2021 and churches were suspending in-house services for a while, another problem arose at Oak Chapel Baptist Church. While inspecting some low spots in the corner of the sanctuary, church members discovered that termites had been feasting on the 1873 building. The damage was extensive…much worse than even imagined. The congregation was faced with two options: demolish the building and rebuild or begin repairs. The sentimental and historic value of the church weighed heavily in the decision to repair, and ultimately became the unanimous vote. A committee was formed to begin background work on the project. Structural engineers they consulted assured that it was possible to make the necessary repairs. Bids were obtained, and the task of repairs went to Lynn Construction Contracting, Inc. in Claxton. Preparations were made, and work finally began on August 1, 2023. As the demo began, more and more damage was found, until the church was merely a shell on the outside, with the inside stripped down to the foundation. As impossible as it seems, the walls and very pillars supporting the foundation of the church were removed, and everything was rebuilt from the ground up to the ceiling. It seemed the more work that was done, the more work that needed to be done in another area. Foam insulation was added, new wiring was installed, a new HVAC was added, new lights, new carpet, new sheetrock, and new paint. Then attention was turned to the Sunday School building joining the sanctuary. A handicapped bathroom was added, along with new paint and new lights and new fixtures.

We still have the 1873 building, but it’s safe and modernized now. Hopefully it will last another 150 years. A big THANK YOU goes out to everyone who worked on the committee, to those in the church and the community who helped financially, and to those who contributed in any way to help the little white church on the hill get a complete overhaul and face lift. Sadly, Pastor Ray Jenkins, who served the church for the last 20 years, passed away before the work was completed. The congregation, under the leadership of Pastor Tommy Henry, has been meeting in the church social hall all this time, but everyone is anxious to get back in the sanctuary. We hope to have an open house to show her off when all the work is complete. We can hardly wait!