Last week I mentioned my first visit many years ago to New Hope Baptist Church was when it was housed in the white clapboard sanctuary still located on the same property.
The church has graciously kept it fine condition.
About the year 1975 it was going to build the large round sanctuary. A date for the groundbreaking was set and as a reporter I arrived with my camera and 7-year-old daughter. When we arrived she was given a balloon and I realized what was going to happen, at the moment church officials tossed their shovels of dirt in the air, folks were supposed to release their balloons. Sure enough, that was the plan but I was ready. I had two seconds to get the photos of the dirt in the air and then wheel around and get the balloons lofting off to meet the heavens. I’m pleased to say I got them both. My son’s high school baccalaureate was held in this round sanctuary.
Other remembrances: the Harp’s Crossing Baptist Church began in a white clapboard county church just down the road from where it is now. When the congregation raised enough money to build a brick and mortar sanctuary the members walked one fine morning from the former place of worship the mile up the road to the new one. I got a picture of this trek and as far as I know it’s still hanging in the church.
When women ministers began arriving in Fayette County, one was appointed to a church in the middle of the county. A third generation member of this church was dead set against the idea. She asked him to please give her a 6-month trial period. He agreed and guess what – she stayed for four more years.
One church I always enjoyed going to and covering for various events was Holly Grove AME Church. I ended up being there so much that after several years they assumed I was a member and I think they got real ticked if I didn’t show up for a service.
I am allergic to various perfumes and odors. This includes the various brands of churches that swing incense around. I have to hold my breath for as long as I can and the moment usually passes. However, I was covering a church that was unusually crowded and the pastor swinging the incense had to stop right beside where I was sitting for several minutes. There were tears in my eyes from holding my breath so long, but I finally made it.
Though I am an eight- decade Methodist, and was a Sunday School teacher on the fourth Sunday for my own Sunday School class for 40 straight years at Fayetteville United Methodist, I am just as proud of writing about Fayette County churches for that same period of time.
We have some very interesting congregations and members living here.