Friday, January 22, 2010

The Little Church Burned Down

Early last Sunday morning the little old church in a neighboring town burned down. It was such a sweet little church, built in the 1800's. Even though it was a little church in a small village, it had a big following of dedicated people who came from miles around to attend.

The church had one front door, and the pulpit was also at the front. The story goes that it was built that way to shame anyone who came in late. There was no back door until, in the 1920's, when there was a double wedding scheduled. The fathers of the brides cut a door in the back so the brides could walk down the aisles.

It was a simple church, heated with 2 wood stoves. Painted wooden pews, lovely old victorian chairs and a walnut pulpit in the front. Painted in soft green, it gave a lovely sense of serenity.  Hanging over the pulpit was a hand-made quilt called the loving quilt, which was loaned to anyone who was in need of comfort or suffering ill health.

I drove by there today to take a picture, and it is bulldozed now, so there was nothing to see. But the picture in the paper showed the side beams and much of the facade blackened, but still standing like a ghostly shape in ash.

The pastor, a dedicated, sincere man, welcomed members into the parish house and promised to rebuild, somehow. A parishioner donated one of her hand-made quilts to be the next loving quilt. I don't doubt that the rebuilding has already started.

This is a little story in the light of the suffering of the world, but it's a huge story to the people in the small community of the church. Even though I've been a practicing Buddhist for 34 years, it touches me too.

The suffering in Haiti and Afghanistan and elsewhere seems small from our living rooms in the big world, but it is everything to the people in those communities, their families, their neighbors. I pray that we can keep our hearts open, no matter who or where we are. This is what humanism is all about.


  1. Sherry, I'm so sorry to hear about the little church. It saddens me every time we lose another piece of history like that.

  2. Sherry, I never saw the church, I've never been inside, but your description makes me wish I had. How lovely! How Simple and meaningful. My neighbors went to that church.
    There is only one other church in this town.
    thank You for the lovely post, even though it is very sad.

  3. Thanks for your visit to my corner of the world. Sorry to hear about the church. It's always sad when a bit of history is lost to us. Although it will be rebuilt for the benefit of the people, it won't be the same old church. Wishing you a most wonderful day. Blessings, Tammy

  4. Sherry,
    Your story is as sad as the one I shared. You really have a beautiful way of writing, I too could picture the placement of the door & the FOTB with his chainsaw cutting a new one. Do you write for the town paper or anything? Anyway, it seems the more the suffering the greater the human spirit rises to the occasion.Lisa

  5. There are people living all over the world that feel alone, afraid, in pain, lost, and forgotten today. This story of the church is just as important as any other. It has been a place of comfort and joy for generations.

    The thing that I learned from losing what I thought was everything, is that we do not lose what is most important. The sun still rises, the stars and moon still shine, the birds still dart from tree to tree. When people suffer, others step forward in any way they can to help rebuild. From loss comes love. This is why my favorite quote is

    Barn's burnt down --
    I can see the moon.

    by Mizuta Masahide


  6. Hi Sherry, I am so sad to hear of the little church that burned, we have many one room churches scattered about the countryside that have been there since the late 1800's. They are cherished by all those living in the community. I am glad to hear that they will be rebuilding. The quilt is a wonderful idea and sentiment.

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such kind comments...I am off to explore your lovely blog. The cherry blossom background is my favorite. Blessings- Julie

  7. I'm so sad to hear about the small towns loss...and glad to hear they're already thinking of building a new one.

  8. Thanks for your compliments on my rainy day project...I came to see what you're up to and love your photos...too bad about the little sounded wonderful...I will be back to see more...cheers...


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