Shoal Creek Church

Singers head out of the Shoal Creek Church in September for a break from an annual singing event. 

The Cleburne County church that hosts a Sacred Harp singing every Labor Day needs some labor itself.

Members of the Shoal Creek Church Preservation Society will meet with the Cleburne County building inspector this Saturday to determine what needs to be done to the church to preserve it.

Images from the annual Labor Day Sacred Harp Singing at Shoal Creek Baptist Church, a primitive church tucked away in the woods of rural Clebu…

Shoal Creek Baptist Church, a 124-year-old sanctuary nestled in the hardwoods of the Talladega National Forest near Fruithurst, requires some repairs, according to Judy Green. Green is a member of the Shoal Creek Church Preservation Society, a nonprofit, which owns the church.  

Green hopes to start a fundraising effort after the building inspector identifies what needs to be done to the structure to preserve it.

“At this point it is in need of a new roof and probably a new floor because it is disintegrating and it does need help,” Green said on Tuesday. 

The current floor was replaced in 1940 due to damage caused by a fire, but the original floor joists were never replaced. 

A recent visit to the church showed that the metal roof has a sagging ridgeline.

Green said the one-story and one-room log structure has been used as a place of worship, a school and a community center during its lifespan. Every Labor Day since 1922, a Sacred Harp or “shape-note” singing has been held at the church. 

“It’s one of the few remaining hand-split, hand-hewn log churches in Alabama,” Green said. 

Constructed of white and red oak logs, the church contains about 19 pews arranged around a pulpit. 

The church was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and last year the Alabama Historical Commission put the church on its annual Places in Peril list. 

Green said she is working with former Heflin Mayor Anna Berry to obtain grants to help in the restoration efforts.  

Green said the church has “special importance” to her and her family. Her grandfather, Leo Jones, was the “waterboy” when the church was being constructed in 1895, she said. 

 “It’s my goal to preserve it and make sure it’s here for another couple of generations,” Green said.  

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.