A starlit December evening was perfect for the beautiful outdoor setting for the re-dedication of the Glass Chapel off Maple Creek Road, Rutherfordton on December 5.
Inside the glass chapel, a tall Christmas tree topped with a bright star and red poinsettia placed around the church altar decorated the chapel that was filled to capacity for the event.
"I'm delighted for us all to be assembled just outside my hometown of Rutherfordton, to mark this special occasion in the life of this very important historical property," said Rutherford County historian Robin Lattimore.
Construction on the glass chapel began in 1999 by Rev. Faulton Hodge, assisted by several friends. Construction of the chapel was completed in 2000.
According to Lattimore the building contains salvaged glass from a convent in West Palm Beach, Florida and the front patio is ornamented with in-laid stones from the Holy Land.
The furniture, including pews, were acquired from several Baptist churches in Rutherford County and across the southeast. The Steinway & Sons console piano, manufactured in New York City, was owned by Hodge. As invited guests began arriving for the ceremony, Bush played Christmas Carols on the piano. He led the congregation in Carols such as "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful," and "Silent Night, Holy Night."
The new owners of the property Steve and Laura Duncan were led in a rededication prayer by Rev. Chris Reese, pastor of the Enka Baptist Church.
Lattimore said, "how fitting it is that the new owners of this remarkable place ...have chosen the task of shepherding this property and protecting it now in the 21st century."
Lattimore told the overflow crowd that "generations of folks have gathered here on this property through the years, not only for Hill, Hodge, and Simms family events, but for special occasions that have involved many families and people from near and far. Baptisms and celebrations of life have been held here, as well as weddings, unions, and confirmations. Musical events, lectures, historical programs, worship services, and good-ole community socials, picnics, and parties have been held here by the hundreds. The history of the property stretches back well before the American Revolution."
The property includes two frontier cabins standing from the mid-1700s, and an antebellum farmhouse that survived a raid by Union soldiers during the Civil War when it was ransacked.
"On behalf of the Rutherford County Historical Society, the people of Rutherford County, and the Great State of North Carolina, I want to say 'thank you' to Steve and Laura, and to former owner Pat Hill, for helping preserve this historic property, not only for our enjoyment today, but for the enjoyment of generations to come."
Rev. Reese, pastor of Enka Baptist Church, presented a Christmas message and the Christmas story was read by Keith Gordon.
Heather Gordon and her son Jacob Gordon sang, "Mary Did You Know?" and later in "Silent Night, Holy Night" was led by the Gordon family as the congregation joined in the singing.
As the ceremony ended, guests exited the chapel to the sounds and colors of fireworks.
The Duncans hosted a reception at the Farmhouse where invited guests mingled while sharing family and history stories of The Glass Chapel.