Two Louisville churches agree to trade places - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Two Louisville churches agree to trade places

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Preservation Louisville has listed it as one of the city's most endangered sacred spaces, but an historic church building is about to be resurrected.

The church was built in 1910 and has been home to Lampton Baptist Church since the 70's. There have been no services there in more that a year, but that is about to change.

It's one of Louisville's most impressive structures, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

But time, and shrinking attendance, left the church in serious disrepair.

"We were not able to maintain it with the membership that we had, just everyday light, gas and water," said Lampton's new pastor, Robert Lyons.

Lyons says the death blow came last January when an aging boiler failed, pipes froze and burst, and water flooded the sanctuary.

Lampton was forced to move to a temporary location.

Right now, the building is dark and cold, but thanks to a new agreement, the sanctuary could one day be filled again with worshipers.

Immanuel Baptist is a growing church in the nearby Shelby Park neighborhood.

"There were about 17 people here in 2002, and now we're looking at about 600 people on Sunday morning," said Pastor Ryan Fullerton.

When Fullerton learned Lampton's larger building was available, the churches began to talk.

They agreed to a creative deal - in effect, a swap. Lampton would move into Immanuel's building, and Immanuel would take over Lampton's location and renovate it.

"It's going to take a massive restoration process. We really hope and trust that God has led us this far, that He will provide what's needed to renovate that beautiful building," said Fullerton.

Both pastors say there's no doubt, God is at work here. The new buildings will be a better fit for their ministries.

"It gives us ample opportunity to do ministry in an area that is in dire need of a strong neighborhood church," said Lyons.

"It gives us a far more opportunity to bring in more children, to bring in more adults, to bring in more people in the nerve center of our city to hear the gospel," Fullerton said.

If all goes well, the two churches could officially swap buildings in as soon as a year.

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