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BY MIKE AVITT
I was looking for the dedication of the Tingley Christian Church in its second house of worship and I found some interesting history on page 5 of the February 20, 1896 Ringgold Record.
In 1876, Rev. Ezekiel Harlan began preaching in the Tingley Center schoolhouse. In 1876, he organized the first congregation with fifteen charter members. Rev. Simpson Eli took over and preached at the school building until 1882. With increased numbers and the establishment of the town of Tingley, the congregation decided to build.
The new church building was dedicated in the spring of 1883. The 28 x 40 structure was erected at a cost of about $800. Reverend A. J. Garrison was hired shortly after the dedication and he stayed until 1889. Rev. Mattox then came aboard and improvements were made to the church building.
Rev. Mattox left in 1891 and Rev. Hastings served for two years. Rev. A. E. Cory arrived in 1893 and great things began to happen.
The old church could not hold the growing congregation and a new, modern Tingley Christian Church was built with a seating capacity of 500. The cost was $5,200. This is the church we see in this week’s picture.
Unfortunately, Tingley suffered many disastrous fires during the pre-WWII years and this church was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of July 2, 1930. The building across the street east, which housed Fouser’s Garage, a creamery, and Been’s Barber Shop, caught fire and the flames spread to the church. This was the third business fire in Tingley in the last three months.
The current Tingley Christian Church was dedicated April 12, 1931. A basket dinner, music and three separate services helped bring about a successful dedication.
Services at the Tingley Christian Church have not been held since March 2020 when Covid-19 mandated the closure of in-person gatherings. Thirteen years ago, there were three active churches in Tingley. Today, there are none. However, I am informed the Tingley United Methodist Church congregation still meets for services in the former parsonage. Please, correct me of any errors.