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Historic Germanton church hits road to Chapel Hill

Posted November 29, 2012

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— 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.

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  • dwntwnboy Nov 30, 8:40 a.m.

    "And the reason they're moving an entire building, rather than build one? Because of government regulations"- and there is a reason for each and every one of those "regulations" and they are usually associated with the safety of the people who will be in the building. I like the idea of strict safety and building codes- it keeps us all safer, just like clean air and water codes try and do the same thing. Love that they used a building that was just sitting empty and moved it for use rather than spending money on building another building from scratch- not to mention they said it was CHEAPER- that alone is reason enough not to build anything new, times are tough, money is tight.

  • winstondawg Nov 30, 8:30 a.m.

    If not worshipers have warmed the pews in over 30 years, I guess I imagined my wedding worship service there in 2005. For the record, worship was held regularly (2 times/year + weddings or other services) until 2009.

    As for why the are moving it, they are moving it because they want to. They had plans to build a new building there, so that was certainly possible, and the "significant" savings the Canon mentions are only about $7/square foot, or about 4%.

    The Church of the Advocate owes big thank you to the residents of Germanton. We've paid for their 4% savings with 33% of our church buildings.

  • Milkman Nov 30, 8:30 a.m.

    Tsquaring, I saw that and laughed as well. Once more people figure that out I'm sure there will be a lot fewer construction jobs in the Chapel Hill area.

  • thefensk Nov 30, 8:22 a.m.

    tsquaring --- in Chapel Hill? Yes, I can believe that.

  • tsquaring Nov 29, 6:35 p.m.

    And the reason they're moving an entire building, rather than build one? Because of government regulations.