“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” ~ Mother Teresa
Back in 2014 I wrote about Antioch Christian Church on Fourth Street. Its windows were boarded up and operating as an appointment only antique shop. I was by there a couple of weeks ago. Its windows remain boarded shut. I assume it’s still an antique shop, but I don’t really know. I would love to see inside the building because I find it a very compelling structure. In its simplicity I find it beautiful.
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.” ~ Bessie Anderson Stanley
This old church today houses an antique shop that’s opened by appointment only. It’s very near Fourth and Limestone. Just like Joe B’s church from Monday’s post, in all the years I’ve lived here I’ve never known the congregation(s) that occupied it. So, I did some digging. Thomas Phillips in 1851, along with his master John Brand, founded the Antioch Christian Church in what was then a carriage house/factory. In 1874, that was torn down and the church was built by Phillips’ congregation (he died in 1859). It was one of the few churches that served Lexington’s African-American community, and the structure itself is said to be one of the finest built post-Civil War. The congregation soon outgrew the space, relocated, and is known today as the East Second Street Christian Church. However, the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, spearheaded by Confederate veteran and second Bishop Thomas Underwood Dudley, moved into the old church right away. His mission remained there until a new facility was built in 1950. It’s unclear to me whether this mission was to serve the African American community only, or if it was to serve the whole of Lexington. I don’t know what became of the building between 1950 and the present day antique store. Even though the windows are boarded, the building is still exquisite. I’d love to see it fully restored. What a beautiful thing that would be.