A work trip a couple of weeks ago took me to Lewisburg, WV. With the afternoon and evening free, part of my winding trip home went on US 129 along the southeastern curve of West Virginia.
I made several stops along the way to take pictures of scenery and enjoy the views and hollows of the area.
Older churches fascinate me, especially the architecture - the steeples, red doors, brick, wood frames, etc. If able, I love learning the history of the church and area.
On this trip, I saw Trinity United Methodist Church in Pickaway, founded in 1887. A building on the campus held the first "Corn Club" in the state, a precursor to 4-H Clubs.
Trinity, indeed, Pickaway itself, has seen generations come and go, societal changes and modern conveniences come to be, fortunes rise and fall. It has seen its sons leave for war, its children leave home for fairer skies and better opportunities. Surrounding the church is miles and miles of farmland. Other than the paving of what was the old Seneca Trail, and the addition of stars on the flag, it's not hard to imagine the area looking much as it did when the church was built.
I drove to the back of the church to get my car out of the way in order to take a clear shot of the front. When I drove around to the back, I came across an older couple unloading boxes from the trunk.
Jim and Gaye were preparing for a yard sale to be held at the church in a couple of days. I introduced myself, asked if it would be okay if I took some pictures and generally didn't want to be a bother. I also mentioned that I am a music director at a small church in Hudson, NC.
Gaye asked if I wanted to see the inside of the sanctuary. I obliged her and followed inside. We talked about our congregations and compared notes about our small church settings and how COVID had affected us.
It was then she told us their music director had died prior to the pandemic and the choir had dried up. Their music now consisted of recorded music.
I thanked her for the times took my pictures and went on my way, but, I couldn't help but feel sad that this beautiful sanctuary had been reduced to canned music. And I pray that in the future someone.or somebody would rise up to bring live music to them again.
However, while I was sad for them, she had such a pride for her church. Having been away from the town for a long stretch, she had returned to Pickaway and her church, stating, "I can't explain it, but I like the way it makes me feel."
There are hundreds of churches like this across the country, small in number, but providing a place of worship as best they can. And I am proud to serve one. The people and families that have been there for generations have ties and connections to their church that I'll never understand. So, I, and others like me in their situations, provide worship settings that help them, I hope and pray, lift up God.
Our music isn't fancy or intricate. We're simple and we do what we can to the best of our ability in order to honor and worship God and grant the glory due Him.
God bless the small church at Pickaway Trinity and Hudson and all of those who remain faithful to the work of the cross.