I love sharing stories about the homework we are doing at 408 Gill, and I can't wait until it's completed to invite you inside. While our house is currently a work-in-progress, there is another historic house in our Kirkwood that I invite you to step inside.
Beneath the steeple that holds a bell that still rings, and between the walls of stained-glass windows, a beautiful, sweet spirit resides inside the historic house of worship on the corner of Harrison and Monroe. When you step inside Olive Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, also known as Olive Chapel AME Church, you step into an essential part of our community's history.
Pastor Debbie Thornton is a vibrant conversationalist who welcomes everyone into Olive Chapel, those seeking a faith-based relationship or those just wanting to chat.
"We are not just a church in the community," said Pastor Debbie. "We are a community. We extend and reach out to bring people together. We want to continue to be that beacon of life."
Olive Chapel is the oldest Protestant church in Kirkwood and has a history of uniting people of all races, creeds, and colors. "The churches in Kirkwood, both black and white churches, are in fellowship together. We've come this far by faith, and when I look at what we've been through, the challenges we've faced, what kept this church together 170 years ago is what keeps us together today," said Pastor Debbie.
The congregation's spirit remains strong, but structurally, this 100-year-old house of worship needs work.
"We are raising funds to position this building to be a part of the community for another 120 years," said congregation member Paul Ward.
"From the street, people shut their minds because they are reacting to only what they see outside. But the inside is truly beautiful", said congregation member Wallace Ward.
Visit Olive Chapel on the Kirkwood Historical Society's "Building for the Next 100 Years" Home Tour on Saturday, December 2, 1 - 5 pm.
The transformation project at 408 Gill promises to merge the old and the new, and it will be exciting to see the final results. Follow on Facebook and Instagram at @HomeWorkWithTrisha and @408GillAve.