The Little Brown Church in Summertown (the Union Chapel) on Signal Mountain will open its doors for its 106th summer on Sunday. Services begin at 10:00 a.m. The chapel will have weekly services through August 31. Pastor Alfred Johnson of Church of the First Born will be the opening speaker with various speakers throughout the summer. The Little Brown Church is governed by a board of trustees and this summer’s Superintendent is Rose Decosimo.
Union Chapel of Walden’s Ridge was founded in 1908 to meet the need for a summer Sunday School at a time when the trip to Chattanooga from Signal Mountain took four hours by horse and buggy.
It has operated every summer since then. The atmosphere is akin to hearing the Word of God in an old-fashioned, one-room schoolhouse.
There is no official membership, and it draws worshipers from all Christian denominations without benefit of clergy or paid staff. A volunteer superintendent coordinates and conducts worship services each Sunday.
Lessons are taught by lay teachers at 10 a.m. each Sunday from the first of June until the end of August. A child leads the day’s Responsive Reading, and children take up the collection. At the end of the service, the children ring the Chapel’s bell while the congregation sings lyrics adapted for them in 1932 by R. H. Williams from the original song Little Brown Church in the Wildwood.
Originally several Sunday School classes met simultaneously in the one-room Chapel. In 1937 an area was added at the rear. In 2002 the rear section of the Chapel was removed and completely reconstructed in conformation with the pre-existing design concept, except that three restrooms were added. A stone patio along the side and another in front accommodate the growing congregation and provide handicapped access.
These projects were underwritten by Christian individuals, and no money from Benevolences was diverted for the work. One hundred percent of funds collected each Sunday goes to support Christian works throughout the Chattanooga Area.
Union Chapel welcomes all, of whatever age or creed, to come and hear the Gospel of the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, taught according to the Bible, God’s Holy Word.