By Nora Doyle-Burr, Valley News (West Lebanon, New Hampshire)
A Maple Street church, vacant for more than three years, is now once again regularly occupied by worshipers.
“Our congregation is absolutely thrilled,” said Pastor Tim Herndon, of the Providence Presbyterian Church, which purchased the more than 11,000-square-foot property last week.
Herndon, formerly the assistant pastor of the Valley Bible Church in White River Junction, leads a 30-member congregation.
Last week’s $189,000 purchase of the building from Song Lin and Min Du, of Hanover, was made possible with the assistance of an anonymous donor, Herndon said.
Decorating her porch with Christmas lights on Monday, Maple Street resident Cathy Darling said “it’s nice to see the building being used.”
The building was occupied by the Seventh Day Adventist Church until 2011, when it moved to Plainfield.
Darling described the Seventh Day Adventists as “great neighbors” and said she has “high hopes” for the new ones.
Herndon lost his job at Valley Bible Church when the church went through financial challenges. At the same time, he was looking for a way to pursue a more reformed doctrine, he said.
Providence, the only Orthodox Presbyterian Church in the region, began informal meetings at Herndon’s home on Farman Avenue in summer 2013. Members later rented space at the Upper Valley Community Grange in Norwich before moving into the Maple Street church, which sits across the street from a baseball field and a few blocks north of two other Maple Street churches, in September.
The Orthodox Presbyterian Church is characterized by adherence to the Westminster Confession of Faith, a set of standards first put forth by Presbyterian Puritans in London in 1643.