BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Rocky Mountain Methodist Church Association has teamed up with Bill Wells, a local artist, and they are selling prints of a picture Wells painted of the Rocky Methodist Church building. The church is in need of major repairs and Paula Cox, a member of The Rocky Methodist Church Association, has headed up the project for several years.
This picturesque building has stood for over one hundred years and though in need of structure and roof repair, is in impressively good shape. “We brought in a contractor to look at the church and give us a quote and he was very impressed that there was no termite damage or rot in a building that old. The estimate he gave us to repair the structural damage to the church is $6,000, and a new roof will cost approximately the same amount, and the little old church needs repairs as soon as possible,” said Cox.
The Church Building sits beside the Rocky Cemetery which is a final resting place for many precious lives in that community, including Confederate Soldiers, Emma Duesenberry, who is honored in the Library of Congress for her 160 folk songs. The Rocky Methodist Church was constructed in 1912 and has stood as a pillar to the Rocky Community ever since. The first building burned down, but it was rebuilt and was renovated last by a church youth group out of Hot Springs, Arkansas in the 1970s.
Though the Rocky Methodist Church no longer houses regular worship services, it remains a community building, where people gather for decoration, weddings, funerals and community meetings. “As a kid I remember going for afternoon singings, and some of my uncles would lead the preaching or neighboring preachers would come,” explained Cox.
Since August of 2015, The Rocky Methodist Church Association has worked hard to raise the funds needed to restore the church and will continue to work hard to raise the remainder. “The Rocky Methodist Church has been a part of the lives and memories of everyone that grew up in and around the Rocky Community. This beautiful old building still stands vigil over our soldiers, fathers, mothers and loved ones buried in the cemetery next to it. This old church has withstood storms and droughts. It has seen weddings, funerals, meetings, fellowships and decorations and it will stand for another hundred years if we get the repairs done quickly,” said Cox.
Wells explained that he had previously taken pictures in anticipation of creating a painting of the historic building. However, Wells did not expect it to lead to a fundraiser. “When Paula Cox saw the painting, she started crying. I thought that’s the best compliment I’ve had. It meant something to her,” said Wells. Wells said Cox purchased the painting in October 2011 and approached him in 2015 about selling prints to raise money for the repairs.
Prints of Wells’ painting can be purchased in support of the building’s repairs. The original copy of the picture is currently on display at the Union Bank of Mena and limited edition, 8 x 10 signed prints can be purchased for $35 from The Union Bank of Mena, The Shop, and George Davis State Farm Insurance on Main Street in Mena. In addition to the prints, greeting cards, post cards and 4 x 6 prints can be purchased at The Shop and George Davis State Farm Insurance. All of the proceeds of these sales will go directly to the repair and restoration of the church. Donations can also be made by depositing or mailing them to: Rocky Methodist Church Building Fund, c/o Union Bank of Mena, P.O. Box 898, Mena, Arkansas 71953.