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The Suburbanite
  • Postcard from Paris Twp.: Church on ‘other side’ of everything

  • No man might be an island, but a little rectangle of land tucked in the southeast corner of Stark County sits by itself. Surrounded on two sides by Minerva and on the other sides by Carroll and Columbiana counties, the little part of Paris Township is not so much forgotten since many people don’t even know it’s there.

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  • The sign at the front of Great Trail Community Church of God says “Welcome.”
    And visitors indeed are welcome at the church ... if they can find it.
    “We’re in Paris Township,” said the Rev. David Guess, pastor. “We’re lost.”
    Well, not theologically speaking. But geographically  they are caught in a difficult area to locate — not a part of nearby Minerva, but divided from Paris Township and separated from the rest of Stark County.
    No man might be an island, but a little rectangle of land tucked in the southeast corner of Stark County sits by itself. Surrounded on two sides by Minerva and on the other sides by Carroll and Columbiana counties, the little part of Paris Township is not so much forgotten since many people don’t even know it’s there.
    At the least, they don’t recognize its address.
    “We’ve always used a 620 E. Line St. address,” said Guess, whose church’s driveway is a few dozen feet east of the Minerva Corporation limits. Inside the limits, the road is named Line Street. Outside, Stark County knows it as Liberty Church Street SE.
    “A few years ago, for emergency calls, (the county) gave us a Liberty Church Street SE address,” said Guess, who noted that the church property is the only property on Liberty Church. “The rest of Liberty Church Street SE is on the other side of the village.”
    Minerva Middle School is able to use a Line Street address, Guess said. “Even though its driveway is outside the village, the school is inside the village.”
    There are homes across the street, but they are of little help in locating the church. Two have Line Street addresses and a third sits on Major Road, which is how the road is known in Carroll County. Signs along it say so.
    Guess has no fear of confusion during an emergency. Appropriate departments for law enforcement and fire response now know of the quirkiness of their location. Although early on, during a non-emergency trip, Stark County Sheriff’s deputies learned a lengthy lesson.
    “It took them 40 minutes to get here,” Guess recalled. “They were looking on the west side of Minerva.”
    Further complicating the matter is the fact that the church property actually has three addresses — one for the church and one each for its activity center and the home in which the pastor lives. The county, he said, would prefer they use only the church address — 16561 Liberty Church St. SE.
    But those who Google the church address are taken, he said ... right, to the other side of the village.
    The address is confusing to delivery people, said Guess, who had three deliveries in the last week.
    Page 2 of 2 - “One of them found us, and two of them didn’t.”
    Guess said he has “learned to laugh about it.”
    “It’s an interesting corner,” Guess said. “It doesn’t help that the church started out as Line Street Church of God. It’s on the cornerstone.”
    The pastor has a simple solution he offers to those who desire to find God at this — well, it’s really not as remote as it sounds — location.
    “I tell people to Google 600 E. Line Street — that’s the school — and it’ll get you close enough to find the church. You won’t be here, but you’ll see the sign.”