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Church restoring old train station in Pa.

November 20, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - For most of the week, the old rail station on the corner of Carlisle and Railroad streets in Greencastle appears as it has for decades, a vacant shell of the past. Once a hub of this small industrial town, the rail station no longer echoes with the whistles of incoming trains.

But for three days each week, the station comes alive, and the wood and brick resound with the rhythm of hammering and sawing.

For almost two months, Praying Time Ministries has been working to renovate the old building and make it the new site of its church.

Cloretta Grice, evangelist for Praying Time Ministries, said members of the church chose to renovate the building after learning that it needed to move from its present home next door to the rail station along Railroad Street in Greencastle.

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"We felt the Lord wanted us to stay in Greencastle," she said.

The church is renting the building with the option to buy and has taken on the burden of renovating the space itself.

"We hope to raise all the money through donations," Grice said.

No strangers to renovating buildings for ministry, Grice said the 25-member church began the process of moving its ministry next door after the borough rezoned the property this fall.

Walking up the old plank platform surrounding the building, church elder Carl Grice said the rail station is rumored to be more than 100 years old, but he has not yet verified its age.

Once complete, the church will be able to seat 150 in its sanctuary and have an entire floor of classrooms, Carl Grice said.

So far, with the help of Hector Arriaga and his business, Kyrios Punchout Service of Alexandria, Va., the interior walls have been reinforced and studs have been placed for the first-floor bathrooms.

Carl Grice said Arriaga and his crew are "a blessing" as they volunteer their time and labor to the project three days each week.

Arriaga, who learned of the Grices and their church through a mutual friend, said he has since come to love the Greencastle area.

"The people are very friendly," he said. "I am trying to get more jobs up here."

While Arriaga said his crew has made progress, he said even more is needed before the church can hold services in the building.

"We need $3,500 in plywood, 800 pieces of tile, copper and PVC piping, and three vanities just to finish the bathrooms," he said.

Cloretta Grice said the church is paying rent at both locations, and still holding weekly services and prayer meetings.

"We are a place everyone can come," she said. "Our hope with this project is to make the neighborhood aware that this place has been restored and they, too, can come here and be restored."

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