Historic Zalma, MO church restored by congregants
ZALMA, MO (KFVS) - Once a year, members of The Union Hill Church in Zalma, Missouri gather to worship and remember those who began its legacy years ago.
Now, the one room church is seeing new life after months of renovations.
The earlier generations say they are forever grateful.
"It means a lot to me," said 94-year-old Carna Watkins.
She grew up in Zalma and spent every Sunday at The Union Hill Church.
Her parents would take her on their wagon.
"That's pretty rough ridin' - those iron tired wagon wheels, and he would put hay in the wagon bed and my mother would put quilts over it," Wilkins said.
Over the years Watkins got married, had three sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
All of them have a special place for Union Hill and its cemetery in their heart.
"It's our heritage," said Watkins' niece, Kay Glastetter.
She and the new generation of Union Hill congregants have spent months renovating the old church that's been around for quite a while.
"It's been here over 100 years. My cousins put it this way – Teddy Roosevelt was president," Glastetter said.
The walls were worn. A new coat of paint. Floors that could shine after years of red carpet.
The church hadn't been renovated since the 1970s.
"We had to do a lot of repair work. It's just been a progress of – we really enjoyed doing it," Glastetter said.
"I can see it in my mind's eye. I can see how it looks and everything, and I love it," Watkins said.
On Sunday, June 12, Union Hill held their annual service and celebrated the rebirth of their church.
Young and old, longtime friends and forever family shaking hands.
"That church was very special to me. It always has been," Watkins said.
For the congregation it's important to remember those who wish they could be there.
"It's homecoming for all of us. There's a lot that couldn't have been here, that would have liked to have been here," Glastetter said.
"I wanna go so bad, but I just can't do it," Watkins said.
Watkins said that one day, Union Hill will be her home forever.
"I hope it will go on and on. I hope that it will continue, and I'm sure that the younger ones will continue to keep it up," Watkins said.
Now that the church is renovated, the members of Union Hill say it's available for functions like family reunions and weddings.
Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.