Timber-framed Country Churches
Did you ever drive by one of those little white timber frame country churches surrounded by cemetery and wonder what it looked like inside? My father-in-law used to pastor one in Buck Settlement, New York, years ago when I was dating JoAnne. I recently visited such a church that has been preserved as a part of the farmer’s museum in Cooperstown. When I was a boy, I went to a country church like that in Haskinville, N.Y., only ours did not have a cemetery. Thankfully also, ours was active and has since grown and been remodeled more than once. But many such have lost their congregations as populations have shifted. Yet the buildings remain in our countryside as stately if lonely reminders of the strong rural Christian religious heritage of our land.
Speaking at the Old Welsh Church
Many years ago I was introduced by another pastor to The Old Welsh Church in Nelson area. It is one such church. It even has the smell of those antique century-plus old buildings with plank floors, aging wall treatment and antique instruments, wainscoting in the vestibule, and stained glass windows with family names on them. This church has chosen an unusual route to remain viable in the 21st century. It is closed most of the year but from Memorial Day to Labor Day services are held at 7 p.m. on Sunday evenings. Coordinator, Tom Davies, schedules a different music group and visiting minister for each Sunday evening. Pat Maum told me that the ladies’ singing group that she sings in sang there a few weeks ago. August seventh I had the privilege to be the speaker there and my wife supplied the special music on her harp. I also took my trombone and played the offertory. We sang old hymns and gospel songs I selected from a hymnbook which was probably old when I was young. But, because I have a long history in the church, I know many of those songs and enjoy leading them too. Then I preached a gospel message which I trust continued to communicate the “faith once entrusted to the saints (Jude 3)” that such churches were constructed in order to pass on. Their very physical presence continues to be a witness to all who pass by that the strong character of our nation in the past was formed by its Christian faith.