When the Clinton Branch was formed in 1992, the Church purchase property I-75 and the Anderson High School on which to build a chapel. But for a little while theny met in a storefront on Clinton Highway. Described as a "shoe store" members were determined to make it feel like a chapel. The membership came from two other established wards in Grove Park and Oak Ridge, each with beautiful chapel of their own. There was understandably some trepidation about the temporary home.
So Jeanne Phillips put in many hours, some of her own money and even brought things from her home to make the store front into "a place of beauty."
Only the Branch President's office had walls that went all the way to the ceiling. So room dividers were brought in to create spaces for different meetings. The Relief Society had the space neaerst the front plate glass display window, so one divider prevented pedestrians from staring at the meetings. The window itself was decorated with lace curtains. Even a foyer was created with a old easy chair with placemats to cover the holes in the arms.
The shopping center was open for business on Sundays, making the experience a little sureal for those who were used to a traditional LDS Chapel who attending the first time.
The Branch continued using the storefront until late 1996 when the boundries of the the branch were expanded to include enough members to form a Ward. The new unit was called the Clinch River Ward, and due to the size they moved their meeting into the Grove Park Chapel for about six month. As the finishing touches were placed on the new Chapel, the local saints were excited. Here was the completion of a dream that began years earlier when their own chapel had burned to the ground.
The first meeting in the Clinch River Ward building was on Sunday May 4th, 1997.
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