The church, dedicated in 1832, is located in the mostly-ghost town of Rodney, once an important town on the Mississippi River, until the river moved away and left it without a purpose. The building hasn’t housed a congregation since the 1930s. The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) bought it in the early 1960s and accomplished two rounds of repairs in the 1960s and the late 1980s, under the now-defunct Rodney Foundation. Since then, the building has sat without much activity, partly due to a dispute about whether it was owned by the UDC or the Rodney Foundation. Mississippi River flooding in the last decade has gotten up to the church, which sits on a higher point than the rest of the town, and the foundation has been shifting. Lately, pushed by the Rodney Remembering Facebook group, formed by Mary Pallon, whose grandfather was the last pastor at the church, the title issue has been cleared up.
Once the property’s saleable status was posted on Facebook, it didn’t take that long for some of the folks in the Rodney Remembering group to start working toward establishing a non-profit organization to take ownership of the building. In fact, they were handing out brochures for their group this weekend at events around Jackson, including the Presbyterian History Day at Belhaven where there was talk of a separate but complimentary effort to start a Presbyterian Historic Preservation Society.
So, although there is much work, time, money, blood, sweat, money, and tears, and money (did I already say that?) left to go, I think the For Sale sign is a hopeful one for Rodney Presbyterian after many years of no hope at all. Read the brochure and get involved in whatever way you can to save this historic and iconic Mississippi place.