Chapel Hill, N.C. — For 121 years, the former St. Philip's Episcopal Church stood on the line between Stokes and Forsyth counties, in the Germanton community north of Winston-Salem.
But for the past three decades, no worshippers have warmed its pews or bowed at its altar.
So, on Thursday, the chapel took to the road.
Its roof and steeple removed, the 56-foot-long chapel is moving by truck to a new home off Homestead Road in Chapel Hill. There, an eager congregation – one that has never had its own sanctuary – will give the chapel a new life.
"There's a great spiritual value to this building, which actually is not being used by a congregation," said the Rev. Canon Catherine Caimano of the Canon for Regional Ministries.
A Greensboro moving company is transporting the chapel 126 miles along rural back roads, traveling about 8 mph. The roof and steeple will be moved separately.
When the church arrives Dec. 8, it will become the Episopal Church of the Advocate.
"The new construction restrictions that are in Chapel Hill are quite a lot," Caimano said. "So the permitting and money to move the church is actually significantly less than to build a new building on comparable sites."
The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina owns the church. A movement to keep the historic church at its original Germanton site failed.