Post Oak Springs Christian Church is a local landmark along Highway 70 in Rockwood. But in the brick building’s backdrop lies the historic church used by the congregation in days past. While the historic church has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2007, it currently sits boarded-up in a progressively deteriorated state. If left unpreserved, the building will soon fall. This is something Marcus Thompson, President of the Restoration Board for the historic Post Oak Springs Christian Church, is unwilling to allow happen.
Post Oak Springs Christian Church was established in 1812 and is Tennessee’s oldest living Christian church. “It’s the mother church of all the Christian churches in the state of Tennessee,” Thompson said. The historic church building was erected in 1876 and was so highly attended that the congregation outgrew the building. This led to the construction of the church’s current sanctuary on Highway 70.
The restoration of the historic building is vital to its survival. The structure currently has large holes in the roof which has led to water damage inside the building. The church is “in danger of falling in on itself if it’s not taken care of,” Thompson said. “If it stays the way it is, it won’t be standing for more than a few years–at most.”
The Restoration Board has big dreams for the historic site once the church is restored. “I want to create a hub in which we can facilitate community events,” Thompson said. “Currently, there is a shortage of public-use facilities in the area that can accommodate community programming that are free of charge for non-profit organizations in the community to use. The Post Oak Springs Christian Church is dedicated to meeting this need through the restoration of our historic church building.” The board’s main focus right now, however, is securing funds for the restoration.
The Restoration Board has been in the process of fundraising, but has “had very poor luck.” Applying for grant money has been unsuccessful so far, despite the project’s support from Senator Ken Yager and Representative Kent Calfee, as well as an endorsement from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. “The primary way to help right now is through financial donations, because that’s gonna allow us to put a new roof on the building to help keep water out,” Thompson explained. A new roof would also make the site safer during the remainder of the restoration.
Donations from the community are greatly needed and appreciated at this time. “It’s going towards what you want it to be going towards,” Thompson said. A report for the building’s restoration has been given to the board, with complete restoration costs estimated at around $1.1 million. “We’re doing everything in house that we can,” Thompson said. “Everyone is a volunteer on this project.” Thompson says donations can be given through checks, Paypal, and GoFundMe, but checks are a preferred method since crowdfunding platforms take deductions from donations. The church is a nonprofit organization, so “any donation made can be written-off,” Thomspon said.
Checks can be made out to “Post Oak Springs Christian Church” with “Restoration” in the memo line and mailed to Post Oak Springs Christian Church, 4761 Roane State Highway Rockwood, TN 37854. Drop-off times for hand-in checks can be coordinated by calling 865-297-7099. Online donations can be made through Paypal to [email protected] and GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/post-oak-springs-christian-church-restoration-fund.