Country Church Homecoming at Goshen

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

“Homecoming means coming home to what is in your heart.”

We had homecoming at Goshen today. That’s where I’ve been going to church ever since I got married a lot of years ago. At the time, my husband’s family lived just a mile or so down the road. When all these little churches were started up, people were coming to church in buggies or maybe walking. So it was like the one-room schoolhouses. You needed several spread around the county to make the trips short.

Even after cars appeared on the scene, people were thrifty. They’d survived the Great Depression. So if they moved closer to another church, they changed their memberships to that new church. You went to church with your neighbors. It’s not like that at our church now. Most of our community church-goers go to the big church out on the highway. And a lot of our members drive past other churches to come to Goshen. Some even come from adjoining counties.  

Our church was established 199 years ago. Will be 200 years in January, but we’ll wait to celebrate until October. That’s because Homecomings at Goshen happen in October. The first Sunday in October and Goshen go together. Above is a photo of half the sanctuary this morning before the services began. Those of you who go to huge churches are probably smiling now and thinking how very small we are. Even smaller than your Bible Study groups. And you’d be thinking right. Even our building is small. I went to one of those mega-churches once and our whole church could have sat quite easily in their lobby. Maybe two of our churches. But Goshen has endured and a lot of people remember learning about God and how to act in church right there on those pews.

Of course, our pews haven’t been modernized with cushions for all that many years. And you can pretty much count on the truth that there were some major discussions about what color and what type fabric went on those pews. The really funny thing is that our little committee agonized over fabric swatches. Looked at dozens of them. Discussed them at length. And then the person who ordered the material got the numbers mixed up and we ended up with something about the same color but totally different in every other way. Maybe that was the Lord telling us to quit worrying about the “little” things.

Patriot Quartet singing at Goshen

That’s another thing little churches do well – disagree. And sometimes that leads to two little country churches. Actually our church did split in the mid 1800s. New Goshen, the church that split off “old” Goshen, stayed a viable church for a good while. But Old Goshen is the one that’s still got its doors open to the community around it and to the world too.

We didn’t have regular preaching today. That’s another thing about little country church homecomings. You got to have singing. That works out well since my husband sings bass for a gospel quartet, the Patriot Quartet pictured here. And they sing the Gospel message, so that works out too.

After the singing service, we all made a bee-line for our fellowship hall and the fried chicken waiting for us there. Actually I always go straight for the salads and then the desserts. A person can eat beans and potatoes any day. But not every day you have a brown sugar pie and a blackberry pie sitting in front of you. Good food, great fellowship and fabulous singing made for a typical Homecoming Day at Goshen.

Hope you had a fun weekend. I was busy at booksignings Friday and Saturday and then Homecoming overwhelmed all else since I had to come up with a couple of baskets of those covered dishes.
I’ll announce my giveaway winners Wednesday after I’ve had time to contact the winners.

Thanks for dropping by. Wish you could have been at Goshen’s homecoming dinner today.