The Mount Vernon Church congregation met in the same building for 102 years. As time passed and the congregation grew, a new building was needed to house the
Mount Vernon Church congregation.
Unwilling to see the old building knocked down, locals James and Linda Kelly requested to move the building onto their property and transform it into a wedding chapel.
The old building was moved just 2 miles down Kelly Bridge Road, by the Etowah River, July 9.
"We just did not want to see the building get torn down. We are helping the community by preserving it," said Linda Kelly.
About 3 years ago, Mount Vernon Baptist Church was given a large donation to fund the construction of a new building. Church members voted to accept the donation for the purpose of building a new church.
The Kellys approached Mount Vernon Baptist Church members about preserving and restoring the old church building, which was originally constructed in 1906. Church members agreed to give the old building to the Kellys free of cost on a few conditions. The Kellys were to take care of moving costs, any future renovation costs, and put the building to good use.
"We agreed to give the building to the Kellys as long as they promised to use it for
something that would respect the church building's long history. I think a wedding chapel does just that," said Gaye Cantrell, a Mount Vernon Baptist Church board member.
Mount Vernon Baptist Church has performed many baptisms in the Etowah River on the Kelly's property.
"It just seemed like the perfect place to move the old church building, said Cantrell.
"We're keeping the building in the neighborhood," she added.
The old Mount Vernon Baptist Church building will become a wedding chapel, pending rezoning. If the Dawson County Board of Commissioners pass the rezoning in August, steps will then be taken to remodel the church building into a completely renovated and updated wedding chapel.
The Kellys anticipate a year-long renovation process. Linda and James Kelly plan to name the redone church Heritage Wedding Chapel.
"We want to name it Heritage because this building is the church's heritage and this property is our heritage and ultimately, all of it is God's heritage," said Linda Kelly.
Before the chapel becomes fully operational, it will need a new roof, sheet rock, electrical work and other updates to transform the former church building into an elegant wedding chapel.
Since the wedding chapel will be the only one in the area, the Kellys want to make it a very special place for couples to commit their lives to each other. Incorporating nature into the chapel's atmosphere will be a main theme.
"We want to take the natural beauty that surrounds us and bring it into the chapel," said Kelly of her vision for the style of the chapel.
"It's something that I think the community will really enjoy," she added.
Lots of wooden fixtures, candles, flowers and other country-style decorations will adorn the new chapel to create a natural and earthy feel.
Elisabeth McKague, James and Linda Kelly's daughter, will be the chapel's wedding planner and her husband, Joshua McKague, will be the chapel's photographer and videographer.
"This is definitely a family effort," said Linda Kelly.
For more information about Heritage Chapel, contact James and Linda Kelly at (770) 893-1436.