At our Ward Conference not too long ago, I was approached by a friend from the other side of the McMinnville Tennessee Stake whose family has been in the Church in Tennessee for several generations. During our conversation, we discussed an old Church building that has fallen into disrepair. The grounds are overgrown, there are leaks in the roof, the ceiling is sagging in some places. The ornate original doors were removed for restoration and have since disappeared, while the temporary doors are functional, they are not much to look at. The building is being used as a storage unit, with old Christmas decorations, even half used paint cans, and many more things just stacked up on the pews.
The Church does not own this building. It belongs to a cousin of my friend. But the church built this building between the two world wars, with local member work, and some financial assistance from the Church. It was, and still is, a beautiful building. It isn't even the only old chapel in the Ward. There is an even older one that was dedicated in 1909. That building has made it on to the National Register of Historic Buildings. Members from the ward and the stake donate their time and resources to keep it looking nice. But the middle building, like a middle child, is neglected. Perhaps two historic chapels in the same ward is too much.The new building being used today was built in the 1980s and is wonderful. But it doesn't have the character of the older one.
The church does not have a track record of saving every old building. But Tennessee has very few old chapels. A even fewer with this much character.
2 days ago