EDEN, N.C. – A long renovation is almost over at the Church of the Epiphany.
Reverend Linda Nye is the priest and rector. She said one of the first signs of improvement at the church is the sound of the old church bell echoing across Eden.
"It has been so nice to have it back. It hadn't been working in a while and to be able to hear it through the downtown area, it's a real gift to have it on Sunday mornings," said Reverend Nye.
The biggest gift could be the building itself. The Church of the Epiphany is one of the oldest churches in Rockingham County.
It was founded in 1844. The church keeps detailed records. Logs show the baptisms from nearly 200 years ago.
Outside there are old headstones and a display that describes the Civil War hospital that was at the church. During its time, the church has seen a lot and been through a lot.
Painter Steve Kidd said it was time to repair the historic church. The first step was repairing the front entry and bell tower.
"I would say it was 50 percent damaged. A lot of boards were in bad shape. There were bugs and bats. They had a bad bat problem at one time," Kidd said.
Thanks to Kidd and others, the church bell is ringing again. Plus, the bats and rotten boards are gone.
In their place, solid wood and fresh coats of paint. For Kidd, repairing the church means so much because he is also a member.
"It feels good because you are doing something for the church." said Kidd. "It's also for the community because it's a small town and a lot of people see it and it makes me feel good."
Reverend Nye said people have been stopping by to watch Kidd paint was he moves around on his mobile lift. She feels the repairs are bringing the church welcomed attention.
But Reverend Nye doesn't want the community or her congregation to forget about the church's mission.
"This brings attention to the fact we are here. But our real work is out in the world," Reverend Nye said.
Another historical fact about the Church of the Epiphany, United States Senator Stephen Douglas, who later went on to run against Abraham Lincoln, married Martha Martin at the church in 1847.