Goodwater church a visual testimonycomment (0)
February 24, 2005
By Grace Thornton
There’s more than one way to “skin” a church, but Kenneth Futral said he still prefers his way — let the women do it.
When Candler Mountain Baptist Church in Goodwater decided to relocate and build a new building in 2000, the church’s knife-wielding women skinned the logs themselves that built their new sanctuary — without help from the men.
Not your typical church craft time.
But, Futral said, Candler Mountain members didn’t set out to be typical when 10 or 12 of them first formed the church in 1994 and later began meeting in the upstairs portion of an old theater in Goodwater. “We wanted a church where you didn’t have to wear a suit and tie — where you could be welcome in jeans and a T-shirt,” he explained.
That feeling of community grew into a little more than two acres of land, where in 1998 members set about turning the trees growing there from a woodland sanctuary into a well-crafted log one.
“When we chose to build, several of the members decided they would like a log church,” said Futral, the 40-member church’s only deacon. “We cut down the trees right there on the land to build it.”
The church members worked in shifts, with the women skinning logs by day and the men hewing them to the right size and shape by evening. “The ladies did a lot of the work,” Futral said.
Karla Giddens, Futral’s youngest daughter, said, “We really just did what we were told.”
But, she added, they still remind the men how much elbow grease belonged to the women. “We let them know our sweat was in it, too,” Giddens said, laughing.
They finished three years after pouring the foundation and held their first service April 10, 2001.
The final product is “beautiful,” Giddens said, and was “a wonderful experience.”
And she didn’t just mean the light cedar-stained, large-beamed building. The logs — and the congregation — were pieced together like a well-made puzzle during the two years it took to complete the task.
John Marks, director of missions for Central Association, likened the project to the barn-raisings of pioneer days — an event that builds community as well as buildings. “They way they hewed the logs and varnished them themselves is a very unique thing,” Marks said. “I wish I could have been a part of it.”
It’s as sweet a church as you will find anywhere, said Jimmy Nelson, pastor of Candler Mountain. “And I’m not just saying that because I’m the pastor,” said Nelson, who came to serve at the church after the log building was completed. “They love the Lord, and there’s a sweet spirit there.”
There’s also a spirit of patience like none other, as Futral demonstrates. “We had to let the logs dry for nearly a year before we could start putting them together, but it was not really that hard to wait.”
Giddens said it gave time for everyone who wanted to participate to have a part in the group project. “We take more pride in it than most churches do because we had a hand in it.”
Futral agreed. “It’s rewarding just knowing that you had a part in it.