Small church finds comfortable niche

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 1999

On a crisp Friday afternoon, Donald E. Brent was busy weather-stripping the doors of Carmel Baptist Church on Church Road in Kingston. A retired railroad worker and Kingston resident, Brent has been a member of Carmel Baptist Church since his small congregation bought it from the Presbyterian Church about two years ago.

&uot;I’m not the designated handyman, we try to divide it up,&uot; he said.

On this day, Brent was fighting an small invasion of lady bugs that were crawling through small cracks in the historic church’s front doors. &uot;Lady bugs are very destructive,&uot; he said.

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In the last several weeks, &uot;gallons&uot; of lady bugs have been hauled out of the church.

&uot;We’re talking gallon buckets of these things,&uot; Brent said.

The church building dates at least to the 1840s, he said.

Two cemeteries are located behind the sanctuary, he said, with one of them containing graves dating to burials in the 1840s.

About 30 members attend the church, pastored by Elder Terry Robertson.

&uot;We do good if we have about 30 or 35 people in service,&uot; Brent said. But in the small sanctuary, a group of that size might seem a comfortable fit.

Because of the building’s status on the National Register of Historic Places, the congregation must be cautious about what it does to the building, he said. &uot;When you see square nails like these,&uot; he said, pointing to a nail in one of the pews, &uot;then you know it’s really old.&uot;