Heavily investing in the community, over the past two years Pastor Randy Franklin has spent countless hours breathing new life back into one of Forney's oldest Church’s.
Due to a variety of structural issues, including a sewer problem which at one time flooded the entire basement in four feet of water;
Forney's original First Presbyterian Church located near downtown had remained vacant for many years.
According to the archives of the Forney Historic Preservation League the building was built in 1925, after which time it was continuously cherished and protected by the citizens living in the surrounding area.
The Forney City Council and the Forney Historic Preservation League have multiple times discouraged prospective buyers whose intent was to permanently change the church’s design and allowable usages.
It seemed that the old building might never find a new owner who saw its preservation as inspirational; and then the Lord led Pastor Randy Franklin to Forney, Texas.
Intent on establishing a non-denominational community inspired church, Pastor Randy Franklin along with only the help of his wife Kim and two daughters Katie and Hannah, have done an absolutely amazing job restoring the centuries old church to its original beauty.
Also the owners of Kim’s Creations Flowers & Gifts in Forney, Randy and Kim Franklin have invested approximately $250,000 of their own money into the restoration of the church. And now, having brought the light of God back into the building, the Franklin’s are very excited to invite the community to stop in and visit “Souls Refuge Church – A Church for Sinners, Saints and Searchers”.
The taxpayers of Forney should appreciate the fact that Pastor Randy Franklin has never requested or accepted any grants or funds from the City of Forney or the Forney Economic Development Corporation to assist in the restoration of the church.
Patiently adhering to all the requirements and restrictions placed upon the restoration of the building by the Forney Historic Preservation Committee; check out the attached pictures and see how the building has been restored to again become a beautiful place to hold weddings, receptions and community gatherings.
After removing the old, mildewed, red carpeting within the sanctuary; the original hardwood flooring was restored throughout the building.
The large green and white stained glass windows, which still bare the names of the founding families of Forney's original Presbyterian Church, have also been restored and now give the sanctuary an abundance of light and openness.
The original church pews were also restored, along with the downstairs class rooms, stairwell and restroom.
The building’s basement initially had two long rooms located underneath the sanctuary which stretched the length of the building. A tiny bathroom about the size of a broom closet was located under the aging staircase. Pastor Franklin removed the inner wall within the basement making the space into one large reception room, and then added two spacious restrooms on the left side of the room.
A truly kind and mild mannered individual, Pastor Randy Franklin does not have a construction or remodeling background, however he does have a heart and mind that is led by his faith in God therefore it was this faith that provided for the beautiful restoration of this House of the Lord.
Souls Refuge Church – A Church for Sinners, Saints and Searchers is located at 413 South Bois d’Arc in historic downtown Forney, where regular Sunday morning worship service begins at 10:00 a.m.
The citizens of Forney are invited to join The Post in thanking Pastor Randy Franklin for doing an awesome job restoring a true piece of Forney's history.
Written by: Denise Bell