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NEWS ALERT UPDATE

In-Person Worship is Suspended till further notice

 CALL 276.628.3361 FOR MORE INFORMATION.

IN RESPONSE to a critical need for blood in our area, Sinking Spring will host a blood drive on Friday, March 12th, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Marsh Regional Blood Center’s mobile will be in the parking lot across the street from the church.  All donors will receive a t-shirt and a snack. Please call today to schedule your appointment 423-990-0004 or register online https://form.jotform.com/210494125155147

Marsh Regional Blood Center | LinkedIn

Statement on plans for the "Fraley House"

Overview

Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church (the “Church”) has an exciting opportunity to expand our worship, fellowship, and outreach with the construction of a new outdoor pavilion. This new structure will allow us to serve our congregation and the community as we strive to fulfill our stated mission:

“Responding to God’s grace, we are called to be a welcoming community, following Jesus, serving joyfully, and sharing God’s love with each other and the world.”

In order to complete the pavilion project, the Church will need to remove the brick structure facing Pecan Street, commonly known as the “Fraley House.” This decision was not made lightly, and followed extensive conversations among the Session, the congregation, and larger Abingdon community.

Background and Present Use

The Church realized several years ago the need and desire for additional space to expand congregational activities and community outreach.  This realization led to the opportunity and subsequent purchase of the Fraley Property in 2008.  Over the past 12 years, the Church has invested volunteer labor and financial resources into the maintenance and improvement of the Fraley House.  As a result, the building was used periodically by the Church, Ecumenical Faith in Action, Abingdon Presbytery, and others.  Unfortunately, the building could not provide flexible space, technology, and safety features that users today expect. As a result, occupancy steadily declined to the extent that the building is currently used primarily for storage.

An Unexpected Opportunity

While few could have predicted the pandemic consequences of 2020, the ownership of the former Fraley House and surrounding property coupled with the generosity of a donor, have proven almost prophetic.  The Church is now blessed with resources to build a worship and fellowship pavilion.  With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this opportunity will provide an outdoor space for the congregation and community to gather and serve safely. 

Pavilion Usage

The proposed worship pavilion will become a gathering place for the Sinking Spring congregation, as well as the Abingdon community.  The proposed facility will include accessible bathrooms, kitchen space, and a covered area for congregating, all while preserving the valuable green space in the heart of Abingdon’s downtown.

Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church is a community hub.  Over the decades it has welcomed numerous community events, concerts, and other public gatherings in our sanctuary, on our parking lots and sidewalks, and backyard.   No doubt with this new outdoor space, opportunities for additional functions will emerge in furtherance of God’s work and the Church’s outreach mission.   

Next Steps

In its present state, the Fraley House structure is not habitable for Church activities, a residence, or commercial use.  If the building was renovated and brought up to construction code, it still would not be an ideal facility for church activities.  Additionally, the cost to renovate the building would range from $300,000 and above depending upon its intended use. 

Given these challenges and the welcomed opportunity to build an outdoor pavilion, the Session and congregation have reached the conclusion that it is time to remove the Fraley House from the property.  Weather permitting, this will take place in early spring in preparation and anticipation of the pavilion construction.   The church looks forward to occupancy of the pavilion in the summer of 2021.    

Alternatives Considered

Before settling on the razing plan, the Session considered how it could build the worship pavilion without removing the Fraley House structure. Based on the experts we have consulted it is not feasible. 

Session also discussed putting the Fraley House on the market, which would require subdividing the parcel of land. In compliance with current codes and setbacks established by the Town of Abingdon zoning ordinance, subdividing the parcel of land to allow for a sale of the residence would not leave enough property for the Church to construct a worship pavilion currently nor preserve sufficient property that could be utilized for future/unrealized opportunities both for our congregation and the community at-large.  Given that the Church is effectively land locked without this tract of land, Session believes it wise to retain the entire property not only for current uses, but for future opportunities as needs arise.

Finally, the Session discussed disassembling the structure and moving it to a new location. While the church’s budget will not allow us to pay for this, the Session has agreed to entertain offers from the public to purchase the home and relocate it.  This needs to be done soon, in order to stay on the spring/summer construction schedule.

Conclusion

 We are conscientious stewards of our Church history and resources. While we want to pay homage to the past, we are called to embrace the future.   In unexpected ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has opened our eyes and hearts to a fresh path for worship and service.   After prayerful consideration, the Session believes it is in the best interest of the congregation and the community at large to remove the Fraley House.   With God’s guidance we will thoughtfully build a welcoming outdoor facility to pave the way for newness in Christian worship and outreach. 

What We Believe

Sinking Spring is a church for all ages. We believe there is value in every generation, and by sharing our lives together we discover the gifts we have to offer each other. At Sinking Spring we are serious about following the teachings of Jesus. This means that no one is a stranger here as we understand everyone to be a child of God. We hope that you will worship with us and join us in experiencing the great love God has for us as we are nourished in our love for and service to God..

Visitor Information

Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church is a welcoming congregation! 

If you need information about our church and it’s programs, please call the Church office 276.628.3361 or email: office@sinkingspring.org

Donation

Donate here to support Sinking Spring and it’s Outreach Ministries