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'Barnwood Builders' bring a historic church back to life

'Barnwood Builders' bring a historic church back to life

Barnwood Builders at Morgans Baptist Church

Crew members for the DIY series "Barnwood Builders" piece together reclaimed boards for a recreation of the log cabin church that was the original Morgans Baptist Church.

Morgans Baptist Church in Moneta played host to the stars of the DIY series “Barnwood Builders” last week. Members of the series constructed a recreation of the small, log cabin church that once stood on the property.

Work began on the log cabin church on Nov. 9. Crew members of the show arrived at 7:30 a.m. to start assembling large wooden boards reclaimed from an old barn in Kentucky. Cameras followed each step in the process.

Jason Arthur, Morgans Baptist Church pastor, watched throughout the day as the cabin walls were constructed board by board. He even spent some time on camera discussing the church’s history and the log cabin that was once its meeting place. The exact size and shape are only known in a few old documents and an old, black and white photo that hangs in the church.

“This process has been phenomenal,” Arthur said. It was only a few weeks ago that he and church member Peter Fisette contacted the show to see if they would take part in the church’s 250th anniversary celebration by reconstructing the old church.

Church volunteers have spent the past few weeks building the foundation that the reconstructed church will sit on. Once the reclaimed wood is in place and filming is over, volunteers will finish up the project by constructing a roof.

All the work is expected to be completed in time for the church’s 250th anniversary celebration in May.

Arthur said he enjoyed meeting the building crew as they constructed the small, 16-foot-by-20-foot cabin. “It’s been a pleasure to come out and talk with them,” he said.

Russell Pflueger, executive producer for the show, was one of several people watching behind the scenes while filming took place Nov. 9. He said he enjoyed coming to the area and meeting with people in the community.

In the show’s 11th season and five years of filming, the projects have gotten bigger and more elaborate. Pflueger said it was nice to do a classic-sized barn for such a good cause.

“It’s really neat when we get to do these,” Pflueger said.

Sherman Thompson, a member of the construction crew, also said it was fun to do something small. He said it was closer to what he remembered when the show first started. Most of the recent projects have been completed inside large mansions.

“Everyone wants it big, big, big,” Thompson said.

This was not Thompson’s first time in the area. He assisted in reconstructing the slave quarters in Monticello several years ago before “Barnwood Builders” first started and said he enjoyed getting back to the area.

Johnny Jett, another member of the crew, was also a fan of the small project last week. He said the old barn the wood was reclaimed from was just a few miles from where he lives in Kentucky.

Jett spent the day operating the large crane that lifted the reclaimed boards while other crew members hammered them into place. He said he was glad to be part of such a historic project.

While he didn’t know if the team would be able to return for the church’s 250th anniversary celebration in May, he said he would be interested in seeing the cabin once it is fully complete.

“I’d like to come back,” Jett said. “I think it would be neat.”

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