Abandoned Bedford Co. Church Reopens as Community Center

Bedford Co., VA - An abandoned church in Bedford County has reopened as a community center.

Laurel Grove Presbyterian Church closed several years ago. The church sits across the road from Gross' Orchard.

Walter Gross had hoped a new congregation would move in. When that didn't happen, he bought the church.

Now Walter and his son Ronnie have reopened the church as Apple Valley Community Center. They want it to be the heart of the community again.

"When they put it up for sale, it looked like no one else would buy it for a church, which I was hoping that they would do," said Walter Gross. "I've been attending this Laurel Grove Presbyterian Church ever since I was four or five years old."

"I remember coming here as a child," said Ronnie Gross. "I wanted, and dad as well, to keep the structure as we had remembered it."

There will be an "Old Fashion Homecoming" festival at the community center from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. on June 28. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of another local landmark, Big Otter Mill.

"We're so grateful to the Gross family for what they're doing here," said Becky Wuergler, Mill Foundation President. "This church was my father's church. I attended this church many times as a youngster."

Apple Valley Community Center will be open year-round for events. There is a wedding there this weekend.