• Student volunteers clear pipe from the land around Jesus Name Church which will be home to a nondenominational gathering place for youth and community events.  Courtesy / Star Kinder
  • Steven James and Jim Smith remove pipe fence from around the building.  Courtesy / Star Kinder
  • Tons of trees and brush were cleared and burned during a cleanup day for the community center in March. Courtesy / Star Kinder

New community center finds home in Jesus Name Church

This year’s Tiger Challenge will end with a bang: a comeback rally at Jacksboro’s newest venue.

“It has been a vision of Christian Missions for a long time to bring unity to the body of Christ,” said Eugene Weldon, who pastors the church along with wife Sadie. “With the Tiger Challenge and now a new community center, I believe we are moving in the right direction.”

The Tiger Challenge is a two-day event sponsored by Christian Missions that focuses on character-building for the youth of Jacksboro. Set for May 12-13, the challenge will culminate Friday night with a special teen gathering at the new community center.

The building and the two-and-a-half acres upon which it sits is a legacy left behind by Dollie Tilghman and Mollie Smith, and gifted to Christian Missions by their children for purposes just like this.

“It was a hard decision for us to make because of all the work they put into building that church,” said Dollie’s daughter, Judy Tilghman Duncan. “They built it by faith with help from the community.

“Their whole goal was to help people who really needed help, people that fell through the cracks.”

Twins Dollie and Mollie began pastoring Jesus Name Church at 250 S. Knox St. in 1964. In 1995, the current building was erected, but it has lain dormant since the sisters’ passing several years ago.

“Mollie and Dollie were really excited about Christian Missions’ vision of bringing the community together,” Weldon explained. 

With this gift, he added, the sisters’ legacy of taking care of the community will continue.

In mid-March, dozens of volunteers from Christian Missions and throughout the community began the arduous task of clearing trees, brush and debris off the lot. The old church was razed, and more work went into getting the more recent building ready for its new role.

It was only recently Weldon learned that the surveyor’s corner post on the lot marks it as part of the original town site of Jacksboro.

“I thought that was pretty cool,” Weldon commented, just another link in the chain to help bring Jacksboro together.

Although the center will be the highlight of this year’s Tiger Challenge, it is just the first of what Weldon hopes will be many community and even private events to be staged at the facility. Plans are being made to build a kitchen and add more restrooms.

Already in the works is a permanent place for the existing Jacksboro Community Food Pantry from which commodities will be distributed to those in need. 

Duncan is excited about this phase of the project.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What could we do to continue their (Dollie and Mollie) heritage to meet the needs of the community, to honor them,” she said.

A food pantry, she added, is the perfect tribute to the sisters’ giving hearts.

To expedite the relocation of the food pantry, local businessmen have donated gravel for the parking lot and a mobile container to store food and supplies until a permanent storage building can be erected.

To aid the Christian Mission vision of unity offers of help have poured in, one in the form of sand volleyball pits. Weldon is hopeful others will step up to help build basketball courts and similar amenities.

Weldon envisions a bright future for the center as it becomes the venue for even more youth events, family reunions, weddings, and a possible “fifth quarter” after home football games.

In the not-too-distant future, Weldon plans on having a dedication of the new center and erecting a plaque in memory of its benefactors. 

“Thank you, Mollie and Dollie. Your love and compassion for this community lives on,” Weldon said.

Jacksboro Newspapers

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