Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Church Called Home

Are you like me? Do you open your email box with a little bit of anticipation? Well, I do. I love the surprises that sometimes greet me. This morning one such email me made my day.

For several months now, I have been writing a weekly column for The Daily Advocate in Greenville, Ohio. The column, On Neff Road, is based on this blog. Once in awhile I get a note from someone who remembers the Loxley family and that time in our lives. I love hearing from home.

This morning I received an email from a woman who goes to my childhood church. She told me that every Sunday a group meets to talk over things happening in their lives. They have begun to include my column enjoying a step back in time.

Last night I could not sleep. Sometimes the words will not be silenced and sleep is nowhere in sight. My mind contemplated things to write hoping that by morning they would not have escaped my sloggy brain. Painter Creek Church was a major player in the nocturnal word juggling. I was remembering all of the ministers who had passed through my life in the church. One baptized me. One married me....to my husband. One was my sister's house parent at college. One saw me pass through the church as a teen.

Along with the reverends were the people who watched over me and loved me unconditionally. I learned at this church to be friends with adults. I learned what it was to be devoted to a congregation and to neighbors by the example these people set before me.

We rarely had anyone new join our church when I was growing up. It was a congregation of local farm families seeking time with God away from the work and toil of the week. Even though we lived in the same community, we greeted one another joy every Sunday morning. We knew the generations of families sitting in the pews. Grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren and all of the relatives that come along with them. This was our community, a family of caring people.

When someone passed on from our Sunday family, the pew where they sat was empty. A missing was evident. These farmers worked together, prayed together, raised their young together, nursed one another when needed and buried one another. The country church saw to her people, and they saw to her.

The congregation has dwindled, but in the hearts of those of us who grew up inside its walls, we will always remember our family at Painter Creek Church of the Brethren. A church called home.

No comments: