The Doubtful Believer

The churches in the community have played an important part in our history. Fayette County is especially remembered for its once numerous “all day singings with dinner on the ground.” When I was a child my family never missed the annual singing at Flat Creek Church on the first Sunday in May and the annual singing at Ebenezer Church on the second Sunday in June. The church yards would be filled with automobiles and for miles in all directions cars were parked on the sides of the then dirt roads. The church building would be completely filled and a huge crowd milled around the outside like bees. The church building literally seemed to rock with the singing that could be heard for quite a distance. Teenagers seldom went inside but used the time to socialize. This was a good place for a young lady to find a “fellow” or for a young man to find a “girl.” At noon everyone spread the food they had brought from home on the tables built for the occasion and everyone helped themselves. You’ve never seen such a feast! We all ate till we could pop and there were still lots of “leftovers.”

Until more recent times churches were relatively small. Since many families had no automobile, a church could serve only those who lived nearby. While most people belonged to a particular church, you would find any activity at a church, religious or otherwise, attended by a majority of the community regardless of their religious convictions. Churches of different faiths strongly supported each other. For example, since there was a limited number of children in any particular district, a church of one faith and a church of another faith might join in having a summer Bible school.

Here’s a story that’s been told about a member of the Shakerag Community. I’ll call him “Mr. Walt.” Before television and even before radio for some the church provided the necessary social activity as well as spiritual guidance for the community. A week long church revival was always more than a religious experience. It was one of the few opportunities for neighbors to get together. One of the churches was having revival meetings at night. Each night would find the small church with standing room only. On this particular night Mr. Walt was standing in the back of the church listening intently with tears streaming down his face as the preacher delivered a sermon warning of hell and damnation for failure to be saved. Mr. Walt was not a strong religious person and not even too familiar with the Bible; however, he did attend church often, as did most of the folks in the community. At the end of the service, the preacher asked all those wishing to be saved to come to the front of the church. Still very emotional, Mr. Walt went and stood in front of the preacher.

"Do you, Brother Walt, believe that they crucified our Lord?” asked the preacher.

And the preacher went on, "I say, Brother Walt, do you believe that Jesus suffered and died on the Cross to save you from sin?"
Mr. Walt dried the tears from his eyes and in a sincerely concerned voice responded, “Let’s hope not!”