Old fashioned church hosts yard, bake sale to repair building
If you're looking for a warm, old-fashioned country congregation, Ogle's Chapel Community Church just might be the place for you. On Saturday, the church held a yard and bake sale, complete with a homemade breakfast and lunch, as well as live gospel music.
"We're just old hill people that love Jesus with all our hearts," said Pastor Don McGill. "Most people call me the Smoky Mountain Hillbilly," he says. "I'm proud of my heritage."
Kim Hurst, the pastor's daughter, said church members plan to use the funds they raise to make some much-needed repairs to the building. The sale was not just a congregational effort. Hurst, who organized the event, said that anyone in the community could rent a space to sell their belongings.
After perusing the sale items, visitors could enjoy homemade biscuits and gravy made by the pastor's wife, Betty. Later in the day, hot dogs and baked goods were available. While feasting on a homecooked meal or snack, one could also listen to the live gospel music. "We've got one of the best honky tonk bands around," McGill said.
McGill, who has been a pastor for the past 40 years, grew up in Wears Valley. He has ministered at Ogle's Chapel Community Church for the past six years. Prior to moving back to Sevierville, McGill led the USA Church of Life in Maryville.
He explained that the church building, which was constructed in 1954, fell into disrepair after the it was vacated for 10 years. "When folks found out I was planning to retire, they asked me to open the church back up, so we did," he said. "It was in bad shape. The floors were rotted out. The whole community has stepped up and responded to our need."
McGill's wife, Betty, noted that help hasn't come only from parishoners. "A lot of people want this church to continue," she said. "For many of them, their parents or grandparents went here, so they want to see it go on."
By mid-morning, Hurst said the church had already had a good turnout. "We've had a lot of people stopping by," she said. "A lot of them are visitors who saw our ad in the paper."
"It's going to be a great day. I've already done my sunshine dance," McGill joked. "Next time I just need to remember to wear my overalls."