Old name, new look: Helena church sees name change, renovations

Published 4:39 pm Thursday, January 19, 2023

By MEG HERNDON | Staff Writer

HELENA – The second oldest church in Shelby County, previously known as Helena Cumberland Presbyterian Church, recently changed its name, and it didn’t have to look far for its new namesake.

Before the church was known as Helena Cumberland Presbyterian in the early ‘70s, it was previously named Harmony Church. Last year, after a vote, the church decided to change its name back to its former.

“We debated on several names, and (Harmony Church) was one of them,” said Mike Ensminger, pastor at Harmony Church. “Whether (the name) be something completely new, or go back to where we started, and that’s what most people wanted to go to. There’s even a historical sign on the side of the road for the Harmony Cemetery.”

Ensminger said though the church is starting a new journey in many ways with the renaming and building renovations, the church is able to find its roots thanks in part to the history of its new name.

“We’re going back to our roots starting over, at the same time, we’re going back to where it began,” Ensminger said. “It’s just, kind of, a big circle.”

In addition to the new name, which was made official in 2022, the church also saw major renovations done to the sanctuary.

“Nothing had been done for a long, long time,” Ensminger said. “Forty to 50 years, I guess since major renovations have been done. So, we wanted to go in there and just kind of freshen it up.”

Ensminger said the renovations began last summer and they completely redid the sanctuary.

“Now it’s nice and clean-looking, new everything is in there, it’s got a modern look to it,” Ensminger said. “And with a new name and new facilities, we just hope that’d be attractive to people that may have never stopped by before, to come in and check it out.”

Updates to the church will not stop at just the sanctuary, Ensminger said. They also plan to update the church’s restroom facilities and Sunday school classes in the future.

Ensminger said the response from the church has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive, and the church has seen new attendees and encourages more to visit.

“I would just like to put an invitation out there for people that may have never been, to invite them to come check us out,” Ensminger said. “Come check out what we’ve done, come see how we’re growing and what we’re doing for the community.”

Currently, Harmony Church is asking the public to help gather supplies for those in Autaugaville and Prattville who were impacted by the tornado which caused major destruction and multiple deaths on Jan. 12.

Supplies that are needed include:

  • Daily basics
  • Canned goods
  • Can openers
  • Ready-to-eat meals
  • Feminine products
  • Baby products: food, cereal, baby spoons and bottles
  • Tarps
  • Storage containers with lids
  • Duct tape
  • Cleaning supplies
  • New washcloths and towels
  • Unscented bath soap and shampoo

Harmony Church will not accept clothing unless it is new, unopened underwear and socks.

The church will be collecting donations from 3-6 p.m. every day, however, those who would like to donate and can’t at those times, can drop off items at the table set up in front of the church. Currently, there is no end date specified for when collections will end.

For more information on Harmony Church, visit Harmony Church Helena on Facebook or Harmonychurchofhelena.net/.