By Dana Porter and Raven McClain
Feb. 20, 2013
For 100 years, Buntyn Presbyterian Church has served the community, but it opens its doors to other organizations to maintain monthly expenses.
Located at 561 S. Prescott St. off of Southern, church attendance has shrunk over the years and roughly eight years ago people from the neighborhood requested to use the building.
Charles Dawkins, elder for the church said the building had rooms that were not being used and when the community started sending requests to occupy them, church members agreed.
The bulk of its use is reserved by the preschool where educators have been teaching children 2 to 4 years of age for 67 years.
Rochelle Mitchell, preschool teacher at the church said that the kids are the reason why she loves her job. “There is a lot of history here with the preschool,” she said.
The church plans to do more improvements involving outside and interior work in order to eventually add a kindergarten.
“We can’t add the Kindergarten until we satisfy the department of education rules,” Dawkins said.
In 1910, a pastor from Second Presbyterian church, which then held their services downtown at Hernando and Pontotoc, gathered a petition of 21 people to establish a new church in the Buntyn area. Two lots began construction at a total price of $1,500 in 1911.
It was said that sometime between 1912 and 1921 that the current “crypt” would be erected at a cost of $4,000 — with the church’s new vision, in September of 1921, Buntyn’s first sanctuary was built.
Buntyn has seen many renowned faces throughout the years including former member Elma Roane, who was director of women’s athletics at the University of Memphis.
Dawkins said although there has been a “high turnover” with members and the church adjusting to new pastors, they plan to stay in the area for many more years to come.