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Small Chapel shuts down after 164 years

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KNOX COUNTY (WEEK) -- A church that's been open for more than a century will soon have its last service.

Just outside Gilson in Orange Township is a small chapel proudly serving it's dwindling congregation.

Orange Chapel was built in 1856 and rebuilt into what you see today in 1900.

Steeped in history, this little church has seen it all.

"This church goes back to pre-civil war. When you think about that and how the world has changed around it so much, our country, our times, but this church has been a constant in this community," said Pastor Don Shane.

Over the past 164 years, Orange Chapel has seen thousands of weddings and baptisms.

"There's a lot of heritage, a lot of pride. There's a lot of sentiment and emotion to the people who remain here and are loyal to come in on Sunday mornings," said Shane.

Small rural churches like these aren't as popular as they used to be.
It's taking a toll on the attendance numbers causing some to close.

Each Sunday Pastor Don Shane speaks to about eight to fourteen people.

""It's hard to keep the numbers up in these small rural communities with one time it was thriving, people have moved away, kids get older and there's not much to keep them here if they're not in the farming community," said Shane.

Pastor Don said the modern world has more styles of service to choose from, large churches can offer more programs, and people can travel to whatever church they feel fits them best.

Orange Chapel will have its last service on Sunday, January 26th at 2:00 p.m.

Alex Menke

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