Group of families organizes to restore Millerstown church


‘Lighting of the Windows’ event held

By Andrew Grimm - Contributing writer



Eidon Zerkle, 10, rings the bell at Millerstown Church’s “Lighting of the Window” event on Tuesday.

Eidon Zerkle, 10, rings the bell at Millerstown Church’s “Lighting of the Window” event on Tuesday.


Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography

Former members of the congregation and curious neighbors stopped by for a brief tour at Millerstown Church’s “Lighting of the Window” event held on Tuesday.


Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography

An old piano sits decaying on a floor marked with holes in the Millerstown Church.


Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography

Dave Faulkner of Millerstown Church Incorporated, left, discusses the restoration of the church with those in attendance on Tuesday.


Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography

MILLERSTOWN – A small group of local families has come together with a vision of restoring the former Millerstown Community Church on North Heck Hill Road.

The last official service held at the one-room Millerstown Church was Easter Sunday 2009, but services had been sporadic for the preceding decade.

The building sat empty and was rarely used for over 10 years, give or take a wedding or two. The roof was dilapidated by the elements and the church lost its tax-exempt status since services were no longer being held.

In January of 2019, a public notice was issued informing residents the property would be sold at auction.

The thought of the property going to a sheriff’s auction — where it would inevitably be stripped of valuables and left abandoned — did not sit well with some members of the tight-knit community.

A group of five families joined together with a vision to restore Millerstown Church to its “former glory and purpose in the community.”

The group of Steve and Marsha Hess, John and Valerie Vulgamore, Mike and Julie Rogers, Josh and Patti Flohre and Dave and Traci Faulkner formally launched Millerstown Church Incorporated (MCI) in March of 2019. They paid off the property taxes owed shortly after incorporating and began the legal process to acquire the property via a quick claim deed. Over the summer of 2020, the bell was restored to working order.

“The first thing we did was fix the bell,” joked Traci Faulkner.

MCI finally acquired ownership of the property in December of 2020.

In celebration of new leadership and in effort to show the community MCI is determined, the stained glass windows were once again illuminated on Tuesday, Dec. 29 and the community was invited to see the progress on the church – and to ring the church bell.

The event was well attended as former members of the congregation and curious neighbors stopped by for a brief tour. The glow from inside the church illuminated the stained glass windows, casting warm colors into the winter darkness that demanded attention from passers-by.

MCI has plans to completely restore the interior of the building, and hopes to eventually have services again on special occasions and holidays.

“Nothing gets done inside until we fix the roof,” said Steve Hess. “We have a list of priorities, and fixing this roof is number one.”

According to the cornerstone, the church was built in 1888.

Those who would like to donate to MCI and their restoration of Millerstown Church may do so by mailing a check to:

Millerstown Church Incorporated

7530 Zimmerman Road

St. Paris, Ohio, 43072

Eidon Zerkle, 10, rings the bell at Millerstown Church’s “Lighting of the Window” event on Tuesday.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2021/01/web1_bell.jpgEidon Zerkle, 10, rings the bell at Millerstown Church’s “Lighting of the Window” event on Tuesday. Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography

Former members of the congregation and curious neighbors stopped by for a brief tour at Millerstown Church’s “Lighting of the Window” event held on Tuesday.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2021/01/web1_church.jpgFormer members of the congregation and curious neighbors stopped by for a brief tour at Millerstown Church’s “Lighting of the Window” event held on Tuesday. Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography

An old piano sits decaying on a floor marked with holes in the Millerstown Church.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2021/01/web1_piano.jpgAn old piano sits decaying on a floor marked with holes in the Millerstown Church. Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography

Dave Faulkner of Millerstown Church Incorporated, left, discusses the restoration of the church with those in attendance on Tuesday.
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2021/01/web1_faulkner.jpgDave Faulkner of Millerstown Church Incorporated, left, discusses the restoration of the church with those in attendance on Tuesday. Andrew Grimm | Andrew Grimm Photography
‘Lighting of the Windows’ event held

By Andrew Grimm

Contributing writer

Reach Andrew Grimm at UDCeditor@aimmediamidwest.com.

Reach Andrew Grimm at UDCeditor@aimmediamidwest.com.