Brookhaven United Methodist Church has been through many incarnations. One of the original churches in the community, it started out as a log cabin. It was later rebuilt twice by the members of the congregation.
Now, the church sanctuary has been revamped to make it accessible to people using wheelchairs and walkers.
The church originally had about 25 steps to the front door, making it difficult for some people to enter the church, said Sara Webb Phillips, pastor of Brookhaven United Methodist Church.
The door was brought down to ground level and a ramp was added in the sanctuary to provide access to the other areas of the church.
“The design is very interesting,” Phillips said. “The whole chancel area, the front area of the sanctuary, is redone. It’s a very open and flexible design and allows for a variety of uses.”
On Oct. 9, the church will hold a dedication service for the new sanctuary in conjunction with its annual homecoming.
“We have the original organ from the old Atlanta Civic Center. It’s really remarkable and it’s being reinstalled so it will be even better. Part of our dedication will be a performance by an Emory [University] organ major,” Phillips said. “We’re very excited about that.”
Phillips said the renovations to the church will help several people who were having trouble getting into the building.
“We have currently two people who are wheelchair bound. One has been able to return to worship. We have a third person who is interested in coming to worship with us who couldn’t get in at all,” Phillips said. “We have numerous aged people with walkers, so they’re just delighted.”
The church got its start in 1922, when people looking to worship in Brookhaven began meeting in a log cabin on the site to hold services.
Needing a more permanent home, the fewer than 40 members of the congregation worked to build a church themselves at night after they finished their day jobs. They used the headlights on their cars to see in the dark, Phillips said.
The church the congregation currently uses was built in 1948, and the educational building was added in 1957.
The church has become a home for people who are working to overcome addiction, Phillips said. About a quarter of the congregation is in recovery, she said.
“It gives us a lot of diversity and helps us not forget,” Phillips said. “Part of the Christian philosophy is to reach out to people in need.”