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Rev. Chad Farris saves historic church in AdvancePosted Wednesday, August 22, 2012, at 8:12 AM
A newly-renovated building greets the crowd attending the first-ever service of the Advance First Pentecostal Church last night. The 103-year-old church had been vacant for 21 years, since the new St. Joseph's Catholic church was built.
The church, built in 1909, is one of the oldest structures in this town, which was founded in 1881. The beautiful building served the St. Joseph's Catholic congregation until 1991, when they had outgrown it and constructed a new church north of town.
The old frame church sat empty for 21 years, as the community watched, in fear that it would one day fall victim to the wrecking ball.
Then, a miracle occurred! Up from Malden, Missouri came Rev. Chad Farris, his wife LaDina, and their two children Ethan and Destiny. They saw the potential in the old building, and, using the sweat from their own brows, they cleaned the squirrel nests out of the fellowship hall, took up the aging carpet from the church floor, and founded Advance First Pentecostal Church.
Beneath the old carpet, the Farris family found beautiful oak floors, as solid as a rock. With the expert help of Gary Beardsley, a retired school custodian, the floors were stripped, refinished, and polished to a new-penny shine.
In fact, Rev. Ferris used the analogy in his first service, conducted on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, when he declared that he would "build his church upon a rock."
Several wonderful people from the Landmark Pentecostal Church in Malden and the Apostolic Promise Pentecostal Church in Cape Girardeau came to support the new church. Rev. Joe Beardsley found his way to Advance to deliver the main sermon, but I think I counted a total of at least three other fiery sermons.
As we left the church, I looked back at the light shining through the old stained glass windows. What a wonderful sight!
I thought of Proverbs 22:28: "Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up."
Thank you, Rev. Farris and your lovely family, for restoring an important part of this community! May God bring you success in your endeavor!
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.