Plymouth Congregational Church opened its doors on May 23, 1926. After 91 years of serving the Scottsbluff community, the church closed its doors on Dec. 24.
Doug Chappell, a faithful Plymouth member and chorister since 1957, shared about the history of the church.
“The church outgrew their building downtown,” Chappell said. “They had about 400 people with 60 kids and they just outgrew it.”
The church leaders began planning a new space for their congregation.
They held church services in Longfellow Elementary for a while before moving into their final home on Highway 26 in 1959.
Chappell talked about the ministries Plymouth Congregation used to do.
“We had pageantry meals and made money that way,” he said. “We had ice cream socials outside in the summer.”
The Plymouth congregation held their last meeting on Dec. 24.
Chappell explained why they had to close their doors.
“About 20-25 years ago, we should have gone for more youth. A lot of people came to this church and moved out of town,” he said. “Or they changed churches or got too old, that’s what’s happened to us.”
Several of the 35 church members who still attended Plymouth regularly are over the age of 80.
“They can’t come to church anymore,” Chappell said. “Their husbands passed away and they were the ones who supported the church. They don’t come to church anymore, they can’t. And we don’t have many youth.”
The church building has been sold to a developing church in the area, Harvest Valley Church.
Jeff Wallace, a member of Harvest Valley Church, is working on renovations of the church building.
“Harvest Valley Church is just a group of Christians that got together a couple of years ago,” Wallace said. “We’ve been meeting at the Hampton Inn in their conference room for the last couple of years. Then Plymouth contacted us about buying their building, so we did.”
Wallace said they made a deal with the Plymouth church leaders where even though Harvest owned the building, Plymouth would be allowed to use it through the end of the year.
Chappell explained that Harvest Valley Church had come to Plymouth a few times in the fall.
“They came here and did their service the way they would do it for a couple of weeks,” Chappell said. “At first, they weren’t too interested in the church, then they got real interested in it. It’s a lot better than being out there where they had to set up the chairs and take them down.”
Chappell was part of the group who approached the Harvest Valley Church with the offer of selling the building.
“I thought maybe we would be merging, but they didn’t want to merge.” Chappell said. “That’s fine. You have people who want it a certain way and I don’t blame them for that.”
Chappell said that some of the Plymouth members will attend Harvest Valley Church, though he probably won’t.
Harvest Valley Church Pastor Dan Kichikis said they hope to hold their first service in their new building Jan. 14.
“One thing led to another and Plymouth actually came to the place where they didn’t think their church could go forward anymore so they made an offer to us to buy it,” Kichikis said. “Since we’re a small congregation ourselves, the price couldn’t be high and they weren’t looking to get the best buck for it because they were going out of business. So it turned out to be a really good price for us.”
Kichikis said he hopes his congregation will grow now that they have a home building.
For more information on Harvest Valley Church, visit www.harvestvalleychurch.com or call Pastor Dan Kichikis at 972-955-8816.