119-year-old Bristol church closes its doors

Published: Jan. 17, 2021 at 4:24 PM EST
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BRISTOL, Tenn. (WVLT/WCYB) - A 119-year-old church, Windsor Avenue Presbyterian in Bristol, is closing has closed its doors, WCYB reported.

“The last several years, we’ve been faced with declining membership,” said former elder Bill Bingham.

Bingham a member of the church for 55 years, says when he first joined Windsor Avenue Presbyterian, you would find 75 to 100 people at Sunday service.

More recently, WCYB reports that number dwindled to approximately 25, due to members either passing away or moving away. The church also says there was a lack of younger people joining.

All of those factors, on top of the COVID-19 pandemic left them no choice. “That sort of settled it right there, we decided to close it down and officially. It was turned over to the presbytery this past Thursday,” said Bingham.

The church tried offering online services over the course of the pandemic, but it ultimately could not survive.

“I think the people, the people are what really make the church,” former music director Terry Graybeal said. Graybeal became a member at Windsor in 2004, with her mother and a couple of friends, WCYB reports.

“It has been very emotional for a lot of us. It’s just so sad. Because there’s just so many people there that we love. We cherish our time together,” said Graybeal.

“The fellowship, the friendship. The Wednesday night prayers and service,” said Bingham. He also raised his four children there. “There’s a lot of memories.” But perhaps others can continue making memories there.

“We hope eventually that maybe another church will take it. And that’s what happens a lot of times, even some other denomination may end up there,” said Bingham.

A portion of the church building is still home to the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol.

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