Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another Dead Church

When speaking to my mom the other night on the phone, she told me that the Methodist Conference had finally decided to close the church where my family attended when I was little. It was full then, but a gathering of six is considered a good crowd these days. It’s getting to where the offering doesn’t cover the utilities, so the utilities will be turned off soon.

They’re letting members and former members take a memento from the place, like a hymnal or church pew. I’d love to have a piece of the altar (prayer rail, actually) on which one of the former pastors used to pace when wound up, jumping to the wooden floor flat-footed when he wished to make a point. The neighborhood has more people than ever, but you can’t interest folks in attending a church where the spirit died 50 years ago.

I guess the land is supposed to go back to the family that originally donated it. That must gall the church higher-ups. I assume that it will be sold eventually. It would be nice if they’d give it or lease it to some beginning church, but I doubt if that will happen.

I can’t say that I have a LOT of memories there, but I have a few. For instance, the older ladies didn’t jump on the pillbox hat fad, just because Jackie Kennedy did, so I remember having to look around some impressive-sized hats to see the preacher. I vaguely remember a pretty little dark-haired girl that taught my Sunday School class. AND, I remember seeing the only bobcat that I’ve ever seen in my life, as I came back from the outhouse one day during Vacation Bible School. And I remember the bell—even years after we started going elsewhere, we could hear it ringing before service, if we were running late or not going anywhere that Sunday.

I would like to toll the bell for the death of the church but, of course, folks would think me weird for doing such a thing. Besides, should I toll it for the number of years the building was used, or just until the spirit died all those decades ago? Either way, it’s sad. © 2015


JaneofVirginia said...

I'm sorry, Gorges. You are not alone. The church I grew up in, in another state has closed and the building is being sold as a commercial property. It's just sad.

Vicki said...

I hate to see the old country churches close, the same way I hated to see the old two-room country school I attended close its doors.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

When we first moved here my parents attended the Methodist church out in Ellisville (St Louis) Mo where the little chapel was filled with church goers. It was tiny and they had fans along with the hymnals, the sort of fans that have pop sickle sticks for handles. It actually grew so they built a new modern church and grew again to enormous size, giant even. But they still keep the chapel. I'd rather go there than the big or even the medium one. It was so pretty and the old grave yard is next to it with the old fashioned head stones from the 1800s at least. Sorry about your church. It would be nice to have a pew if you had a place for it.

Lady Locust said...

That is sad. I'd say we need more followers not fewer.

Sixbears said...

My lovely wife's church is going down that long slow slide. The "young" people are in their 50s. Most of the churches in my hometown are gone, but most of the people have left too.

buddeshepherd said...

I find it sad and frustrating to see the life go out of Christianity. We have no leadership. True believers are an odd collection of misfits. I suppose that is how it has been in the past.

Mamahen said...

Always sad to see ! The little church of my childhood is all but fallen down..the building that. is...the "church" died years ago :'(

HermitJim said...

Sad to say that it seems to be happening all across America these days.

Gorges Smythe said...

Especially when so many are in such spiritual need, Jane.

That too, Vicki.

I'd love to sit a couple of them on our front porch, Kathy, but the missus would never go for it.

Agreed, LL!

Yes, Six Bears, it's even more likely in a declining economy.

Probably so, Budd.

The second part is always the saddest, Mh.

I'm sure you're right, Jim.