Love and tradition will bring church back

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

There's just something about an old country church. The hardwood floors. The hard, wooden benches. And, the backs on those benches are straight, not curved or cushioned in any way.

There's something about being able to look out the windows and see the trees, and watch the leaves drift to the ground. In the summertime, the green on the leaves seems even greener through the shiny, glass windows. In the winter, the bare limbs look even more naked as one glances out the clear panes.

Some of these old country churches have ceiling fans. Some don't. During the hot, stifling summer days, hand fans swish back and forth to bring a minimum of relief. But there is something very comforting about that consistent movement. It's constant; it's unchanging; it's steady, much like the routines and traditions of those who participate in the worship that takes place within those frame walls.

In the Searcy Community, many people have come together to try and keep the traditions of both the past and the present alive.

Idonia Porterfield, Milton Gibson, Mertice Porterfield, Beatrice Owens, Eric Cates and Roland Porterfield are just a few of those who are working to preserve Moriah Primitive Baptist Church, which sits just off Wagon Wheel Road. All of these people, plus so many, many more, are to be commended for the love and the work they are putting into the preservation of this church.

This community, along with the families and friends who have ties and connections with this old building, has pulled together to show that a love of tradition and memories is stronger than the deterioration caused by time or the destruction caused by a hurricane.

There is a love of family that pulls people back to their roots, back to the places where there is such a deep, sacred fondness in their hearts. And, it's in their souls. If it were not part of some fabric of their absolute identity, they wouldn't put their sweat, their money, but mostly, their care and attention into something as tangible as an old building. Something as impermanent and temporary as an old building.

That is why family, tradition, and memories are not something tangible or impermanent or temporary. They are the mainstay of what makes us who we are.

If those wooden walls and hardwood floors could speak, what would they say about the people who have come and gone from within its frame? What would they say about the people who step over its threshold today?

May the grace and simplicity and tranquility of these old country churches be preserved for generations to come. After all, those children will need precious memories to hold one day, too.

Regina Grayson is a reporter with the Greenville Advocate.

She can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 126 or via e-mail at