By Morgan Bryce
Alabama Rural Ministries is looking to preserve the history and legacy of Opelika’s Pepperell United Methodist Church.
Following the church’s closing and final service held June 24, ARM assumed day-to-day operations of the structure from local Methodist leadership.
According to ARM founder Lisa Pierce, the current plan is to move her organization’s headquarters from the church’s basement to the upstairs portion of the structure next month.
“We moved our offices to their basement in January 2014 … and at one point, we were looking to move back closer to the Auburn area. But when we found out what was happening, the conversation switched from that to, ‘what about moving upstairs?’” Pierce said.
“Extending the love of Jesus”
In 1998, Pierce, who was serving as a campus minister at the University of West Alabama, saw a need for restoration of both homes and souls in the Livingston area.
Through a joint corroboration between West Alabama’s Wesleyan Foundation and Auburn University, Pierce said her “experiment” blossomed into a full-scale movement that has restored nearly 700 homes for families, senior citizens and people with disabilities across Alabama in its 20-plus years of existence.
In addition to the organization’s Opelika headquarters, ARM currently operates a field office in Tuskegee, home repair and day camp in Livingston and works with local churches and student organizations to further their work.
Furthering the Lord’s mission
Though the church no longer holds services, Pierce said it will still serve as a stepping stone for God both in the Pepperell Mill Village community and beyond.
“Sometimes, when something dies or closes in this case, there’s a vision and opportunity for something to be resurrected. And that’s what our vision is,” Pierce said. “Members of the congregation told us that they believed that their was a new vision for the church. There’s other ways that this church can be a church for the community, as it should.”
For more information about ARM, visit www.arm-al.org or call 334-501-4276. Their Opelika office is located at 200 26th St.