At the Cross to move into Stone Church in Antrim

  • From left: Nick Davis and his father Rick stand inside the Stone Church in Antrim, a building they will start to preach out of once renovations are complete.  Courtesy photo—

  • From left: Rick Davis and his son Nick stand outside the Stone Church in Antrim. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, October 19, 2017 9:30AM

Rick Davis and a small group of people started worshipping out of a pizza restaurant in Antrim about three years ago.

They later moved the service into a room in Davis’ home, and on Easter Sunday this year, Davis started holding services on the second floor of the Town Hall.

Sometime in the near future, Davis is planning to move once again. This time permanently into the old Stone Church on Clinton Road.

“We go from six of us in our living room a little over a year ago to a fully remodeled wood stone church,” Davis wrote in a journal entry dated May 28. “Only you God could make this happen.”

Davis said the process of acquiring the property started as a dream his son-in-law had that he was mowing the lawn outside of the Stone Church.

“Tim’s dream made me think, ‘I need to call Jim Rymes,’” Davis said explaining that Rymes owns the church that was built in the mid-1800s.

Jim and his wife Carol, who own Rymes Propane & Oil, bought the church in the early 1990s. Rymes said they bought it, in part, because the structure is “going downhill very, very quickly.” At the time, it needed a lot of work, including a new roof.

For years, they took care of the property. Weddings and funerals were held there and it was open from people of any denomination for decades.

Rymes said he moved to Antrim in 1969 when he was a young man. He said they sold their house and moved out of the community last summer.

Not that long after they sold, he received a call from Davis asking about the Stone Church.

“I called Jim’s office in Concord and I told them an old friend would like to talk to him about the Stone Church,” Davis said. “Within five minutes Jim calls me very excited, he says, ‘I am thrilled that you are interested in the Stone Church.’”

Davis said the two met way back when he was just a kid. Rymes was driving a school bus at the time and he said he would help the young Davis climb the stairs at the front of the vehicle. Over the years, Rymes said he has come to know Davis and his family as “good, hardworking New England people.” Davis has owned multiple businesses in the Monadnock region over the years, including the bowling alley in Peterborough. Rymes said when Davis’ wife Diane was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1989, he never wavered in his commitment to her.

“I just knew that anybody that could be that dedicated to a person couldn't have a bad bone in his body,” Rymes said.

That’s one of the reasons why when Davis called about the church, it didn’t take long for Rymes to decide how to respond. He said they had been looking for someone to keep the church in good condition into the future.

“My wife and I talked about it and it sounded like a really, really great thing for the community,” Rymes said.

Rymes said he has faith but doesn’t attend church. He said he was drafted into the Vietnam War and saw things that he has been grappling with ever since.

“I have some belief, hopefully, there is good out there,” Rymes said.

Rymes said he is interested in preserving the building into the future.

“The building is so beautiful, it's so New England,” Rymes said. “It really speaks to me, especially in the wintertime with the snow and you turn the lights on inside. That represents New England to me.”

He said there are interesting details on the building too like the pillar at the front of the church that’s made up of field stones brought handpicked by residents and brought to the area. He said it’s become a tradition to ring the bell at midnight on the Fourth of July every year too.

“It’s a good little part of town,” Rymes said about the area.

Davis said he thinks his entire past was preparation for this project.

“I know God has been preparing me for this Stone Church Revival,” Davis said.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.