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Top News Story

Declining churches encounter hard decisions about their property when facing closure

November 19, 2015

Mars Hill Primitive Baptist Church sits just off a country road in rural Cleburne County. The building, constructed in the mid-1990s to replace another destroyed by fire, is a simple wood-framed building with white siding. A few feet from the front door is a sheltered picnic table, once a gathering place for local families and their kin who came once a month to sing sacred harp hymns, hear the preacher and enjoy dinner-on-the-grounds. That’s no longer the case. Like many churches of its kind, Mars Hill Baptist now is mostly abandoned. Even the church’s annual sacred harp singing has ceased. The electricity has been turned off and local families tied to the church’s history keep the grass cut. County deputies have been called to the church’s remote location...

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