“The little brown church in the vale”

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By Ben Hyatt

It is difficult to think of personal things to write about in a column for a newspaper if you really think about it.
I try every once in a while to have a more personal story, especially from my childhood, for some of the readers to try and relate to and other times I pick a topic in the community and just spill out my thoughts.
It is hard to write something personal about your childhood when you don’t remember a lot of it. However, this time I was sitting in the chair at work thinking about my column and was quickly reminded of a topic that is brought-up often between myself and my editor... church.
Becky and I used to go to the same church, good ol’ Antioch Mills Christian Church.
I still smile when I think about the church that I grew-up in.
From Mom swinging her arms in the pulpit while she led the choir and congregation in song, Ernie Barnes yelling-out to sing ‘Wonderful Grace of Jesus’ and the rough feeling of the out-of-date, scratchy orange fabric that covered the pews.
There are about a million memories that I could start naming off if I really tried.
I no longer attend that church, my wife and I now have our membership at Cynthiana Baptist Church where we now make memories together.
Every once in a while though, I will stand in the doorway of Becky’s office and ask her, “Does Antioch still have the revivals like they used to?”
The answer from Becky is always the same. She stops what she is doing and shakes her head while saying, “No, note quite like we used to.”
Now, I know it may seem impossible to understand, but believe me when I say that “back in the day” Antioch Mills Christian Church had some out of this world revivals.
The special music. The week-long preaching. THE FOOD!
Every night Mom and Dad would load the three of us kids in the car and head up North 27 to hear another inspirational message from the visiting pastor.
Now I don’t remember all their names, but I remember their faces.
Believe it or not, the pews would usually be full. I would always get away from my parents and set with Pappaw Gee and Ann Barnard or if we were late I would slide in with the Taylors and set by my buddy Josh.
Every night we had special music by some of the most talented people. One group that I recall was Judy Feeback, Donna Jacobs and Ardyth Whitson. For the record, those women could make a bunch of believers come out of their seats.
Peggy and Elliot Williams with their daughter Beth would usually sing and of course my mom would sing with Dad playing the piano with no music.
After the sermon, we all went down stairs to eat with the preacher. Now, if memory serves me correct, families went down according to their Sunday School classes. This eliminated the preacher being overwhelmed by the vast number of people.
Nevertheless, the kids would always con our parents into letting us stay because there was always more than enough to eat, especially if Violet Barnes and Rosie Cunningham were the cooks that night.
Those memories are priceless. They are among my fondest.
I really enjoy recalling those times at Antioch Mills, however I am sad that kids my age don’t have the opportunity to experience those times like I did.
I always enjoyed revivals and I kind of miss them. People always told me when I was young that things are always changing, however taking time to enjoy simple things like revival should never change.
I try to keep my spiritual feelings out of my reporting and writing, but sometimes it does have a place on the pages.
For me, church is where I have found happiness in life. It is where I met my wife. It is where I continue to make memories, and it all started at “the little brown church in the vale.”