August 30th, 2006

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Thoughts about the weekend of Aug. 26

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

My wife of nearly 45 years celebrated a birthday this past weekend.  We went to a fishfry and Bluegrass Gospel concert in the pavilion at Hebron Baptist Church. (See EthicsDaily column on this church from a few years back concerning a similar event.)  The food was excellent.  But there was no pound cake.  Over the years I have learned that it is wise to top off 10 or 12 pieces of catfish with a nice slice of pound cake.  My theory is that it soaks up the greese.  (Jackie does not agree.  She notes that the basic recipie for a pound cake includes a pound of butter.)

The music was provided by a local group, Speed’s Mill, and by The Kids, a trio of their kin who are all sub-teens.  The are excellent. Recently, they opened for Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver at a concert in Tuscaloosa.

About 75 or 80 persons made up the audience.  The church is prospering and growing.  My thought is a loving church draws people because we all want to love and be loved.

Sunday, I traveled to Argo First Baptist Church near Jasper, Alabama, to help them celebrate their 75th anniversary.  I commented on the brief history that appeared in the bulletin of the church for that event.

  • The roots of the church were found in the endeavor of two women in the community to create a Sunday School of the children in the area.  No missionaries.  No approval from anyone.  No big investment.  Just a couple of women with a passion for children and for their salvation.  My reading of the origins of many churches has often revealed a similar story.
  • It is important for rural churches to keep a focus on children.  Sometimes I have seen churches grow old in their membership because they were unwilling to reach out to love children who were not”church broke.”
  • To seek to form a church in the depths of the Great Depression must have been an act of great faith. Thousands of churches closed in the 1930s, particularly in rural places.
  • Today Argo FBC worships in a fine, well-appointed brick building.  But for most of its life, it had a “make do” existence.  But it was committed to its passion and God, in his time and in his way, has blessed.
  • The connection of the church with its association of churches has been a blessing.  At times the association and the State Convention have provided help to get it past a time of crisis. Not a great lot, but what was needed.
  • The congregation celebrated its faithfulness for 75 years and pledged itself to be faithful in the years to come.