church in La Grange
undergoing interior renovation
volunteered their services
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (December 2008) Since 1895,
DeHaven Memorial Baptist Church has seen people come and go, and life
begin and end. It has withstood storms of doubt. The historic church
is getting a much-needed interior renovation to make it shine just as
brightly as the day its doors opened for its first congregation.
The building is very important to us, said pastor Tommy
Purvis. With more than a century of wear and tear, it was in need
of some upkeep.
by Helen E. McKinney
Memorial Baptist Church
has been a hallmark of the
community since 1895.
New lighting, carpeting, painting and restrooms are just
some of the maintenance projects that have been tackled. The suspended
ceilings have had to be redone and landscaping updated. The stained
glass windows have been rejuvenated in an effort to totally refurbish
them to bring back the original beauty, Purvis said.
Various church members have volunteered their time and talents to make
the building located at 300 W. Main St. more functional for worship
and training. The membership has steadily grown and now numbers 184
There is a very worshipful atmosphere inside, said Purvis.
The building is a tool to be used for the churches mission of reaching
out to the community at home and abroad through mission programs.
Over a three year period, $350,000 has been pledged in support of renovation
costs. Total costs may exceed this amount, but it is worth it to the
congregation to upkeep the building.
It is very much a part of the history and architecture of downtown
La Grange, Purvis said. A special interior feature is the churches
pipe organ that was built and installed by the Louisville organ building
firm of Henry Pilchers Sons in 1908. Half of the initial cost
of $1500 was paid by the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.
The organ was originally hand pumped, but an electric blower now provides
the wind for the organ. The Steiner Organ Co. of Louisville renovated
the pipe organ in 1970.
It was within the sacred walls of this church that Bob and Audrey Hehl
were married 55 years ago. Bob Hehl, 86, said he has attended services
at DeHaven since 1951. He is a retired Oldham County High School teacher
and his wife is retired from her position as a La Grange Elementary
school librarian. They still attend DeHaven and have witnessed a church
full of history that is a significant part of the county.
Hehl was on a history committee that compiled information on the church
for its 100-year anniversary. We gathered all data we thought
was pertinent, he said. The church belongs to the Oldham-Trimble
Baptist Association, which has 22 member churches.
The Victorian Gothic style church was dedicated on Sunday, Dec. 5, 1895.
DeHaven, formerly known as La Grange Baptist Church, was constituted
in 1802 as Lick Branch Baptist Church. For a time, the congregation
met in a log church also used as a schoolhouse.
The church at the current location was built after Judge S.E. DeHavens
widow donated funds to buy the land and build the church. Betty Russell
DeHaven gave the church as a memorial to her late husband, which can
be noted over the front doors of the building. The churchs name
then changed to DeHaven Memorial Baptist Church.
When the congregation began to outgrow the building, some members voted
in 1999 to move to a new location on Commerce Parkway and changed its
name back to the original La Grange Baptist Church. A core group remained
behind and chartered a new church in the old De Haven Memorial Baptist
Church building in November 2004.
This group was comprised of 54 charter members who decided to drop the
word Memorial from the churches title. The church is involved
in a variety of projects. It is a mentoring church for Good News Homes,
which provides temporary housing for families, partners with the Red
Cross, has instituted local and international missions projects and
has a heavy focus on youth and childrens ministry.
There are more than 50 churches in Oldham County of various different
denominations, said Hehl.
We hope we can help people in the community, he said. Hehl
described the church as the basis for people coming together,
learning about the Lord, and going out and serving the Lord.
For more information, contact the Rev. Tommy
Purvis at (502) 222-1535 or visit: www.dehavenbaptistchurch.org.
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