06/25/06 — Duplin Correctional Center gets chapel

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Duplin Correctional Center gets chapel

By Turner Walston
Published in News on June 25, 2006 2:04 AM

KENANSVILLE -- Going to the chapel took on a whole new meaning in Duplin County this week.

In this case, it was the chapel that "got going."

A funeral chapel from Rose Hill has a new home -- at the Duplin Correctional Center.

The 125-foot-by-29- foot building made the 14-mile trek from Rose Hill to Kenansville Thursday.

There were some casulaties -- a fence had to be taken down, a few signs shifted and some flowers removed.

But when the journey was complete, the correctional center had a new religious service center, said Edward McCullen, program director.

For more than six years, the Duplin Community Resource Council worked to bring a religious service center to the correctional center.

Currently, services at the center are being held in the dining hall or a mobile unit. One is too loud, and the other too small, McCullen said.

"We needed something that would accommodate the crowd, plus would be conducive to religious services," he said. "(The inmates) expressed a desire to have someplace to go and worship that could be quiet and peaceful."

The unused funeral chapel was found in Rose Hill. In August 2003, Lounell Mainor offered to sell the chapel to the council for $30,000. Two months later, she agreed to donate it.

Nearly two years later, the council received $25,000 from an anonymous donor, for moving and reconstruction costs to the building. Council members had to raise about $70,000 for the State to agree to the relocation.

"The state wanted to make sure that it can be renovated and brought up to standards," McCullen said.

Council member Gary Bell will oversee renovations, and several contractors have agreed to donate time.

McCullen said he does not know when the renovations will be finished, but one big step has been taken.

"We're getting the building out here," said Jo Barnhardt, council president. "That was the big thing."

McCullen agreed.

"It was a relief to see it on the grounds. We have kind of been holding our breath for three years for it to get here."

Duplin Correctional Center is a minimum security facility with a capacity of more than 1,900.