Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Old Church of God in Williston Florida---Lives in My Heart

Sometimes when one reaches a certain age it is easier to remember a time when you are very young; than remembering what you ate for dinner the night before. And, for me this is one of those times, which I will share with you a special time at the beginning of my life.

When I was a baby my Grandmother and Grandfather Knight took me to church with them every Sunday. When I was probably three years old I began to realize that Church was where God lived and we came to visit with him. I could not wait to walk through the double doors of the “Old Church of God in Williston Florida.”
I always held my Grandmother Knight’s hand as I skipped up the church steps every Sunday. We walked through the open doors into God’s house. I could not reason it out in my baby mind that God was all around us and that he did not live only in the church.
In this little church is where I learned about Christians. And, I learned about the good Christians in the church; where help was always given with joy in their hearts when there was a need. And, in Sunday school I learned about the Bible, and how to pray.

I remember the beautiful music Norma Yancey played on the piano as her fingers flew across the keys; while she sang with John Yancey and Nolan Smith. I can still hear them singing “When the Roll is Called up Yonder,  Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Rock of Ages, The Old Rugged Cross, He ,” and so many more.

The little church had a choir behind the pulpit where beautiful singing echoed through the church and made my baby heart jump with happiness because I knew God was there listening with us. My Grandmother said he was all around us so I could talk to him anywhere and to remember to thank him for all my blessings. I really didn’t know what blessings were then, so I told God I loved him and was thankful for him.

I loved everything about church until the man up front who everyone called the “Preacher” talked really loud. Grandmother said he was trying to get our attention and to make a point about God’s words from the Bible. I always wondered what God thought about the loudness that scared little children like me. I knew his son Jesus loved children---I learned about Jesus in Sunday school.

I remember the beautiful faces of the church women and how they always glowed with happiness; and some of these women were: My Grandmother Alice Knight, Mrs. Goodman, Mrs. Nail, Mrs. Cribbs, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Hoppings, Mrs. Chesser, Mrs. Sullivan., Mrs. Norma Yancey, Mrs. Nolan Smith, Mrs. Othie Chesser, Mrs. Hazel Lee, Mrs. Frazier Sullivan, Mrs. Slater Sapp and there were more---but I cannot remember their names.

I remembered most of the women had long hair like my Grandmother who wore her hair braided and in a bun with long hairpins to keep it in place. Their dresses had long sleeves and the skirts were long---half way to their ankles over thick stockings. And, my Grandmother Knight did not wear jewelry or make-up. Since my Angel Grandmother did this---it had to be right with God.

These were the women who impressed me with their gentle spirit and I learned by watching them is how Grandmother Knight said ladies should always act. I don’t know if I became the lady she wanted me to be---because---I never accepted the saying: Children should be seen, but not heard. I received many disdainful looks from my Grandfather Knight when I talked at the wrong time. However, I tried to always please my Grandmother Knight---just to see her smile was worth all the effort it took---she was my sunshine.

The men I remembered were: Grandpa Tom Sullivan (not a blood relative---but close enough), Mr. Goodman, and Mr. Smith, Mr. Hoppings, Mr. Nail, Mr. Edgar Chesser, Mr. John Yancey, Mr. Slater Sapp, Mr. Frazier Sullivan and Mr. Nolan Smith.

The Old Church of God is no longer standing and most of the older people who worshipped there are in Heaven now; with my grandparents. In my heart and mind it is still there---waiting for me to enter; because this is where I first felt the powerful presence of God so many years ago. I can still envision the women fanning their babies on warm Sunday mornings; with the paper fans fastened on a flat wooden stick because there was no air-conditioning in the church, and I doubt there was heat---I do not remember.

The men put the church windows up in the summertime and everyone used paper fans. My Aunt Dora and I found a fan in the back of Grandmother Knight’s closet; a fan with Jesus on the front talking to children---I cried---grandmother had saved it because she loved it.

The essence of that little old Church of God has carried me through many sorrowful times, especially when I lost a love one. I would let my mind recall the glorious days I spent sitting with my grandparents on the wooden benches, as I watched everything happening around me. During these times I listened intently as a song softly echoes through my mind and is now branded on my heart forever, “When the Roll is Called up Yonder” because my Grandmother loved this song.

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

My mother remarried and she joined the Baptist Church, so I went there most of the time. Although I went with my Grandparents as often as I could to God’s Church, it was like going home to my Grandparent’s farm---it felt right.

When I go to Williston I always drive slowly by where the little church once stood and I can visualize a little blond girl holding tightly to her grandmother’s hand; as she smiles up into her Angelic grandmother’s face; while she skipped up the steps to visit God. I wish I had taken a picture for my memory book, but I never thought it would one be replaced with a bigger church; but it will live in my heart forever.

I thank God for the blessing of knowing where the roots of the good Church of God Christians began, and I pray it’s carried on by their descendants.

© BEPH 2014 All Rights Reserved

PurvisBobbi44 is the sole author of this Blog and if it is seen anywhere
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If God Is Not There                                               

A church is only a building if God is not there,

Then all who dwell within---are without a prayer.

God can be worshiped by his Christian followers, under the sky,

Without a building to cover them---they do not ask why?

Jesus preached on the mountain-side without even a tent,

His followers listened until they were spent.

The Multitude was fed,

Jesus prayed over the five small loaves of Barley bread.

Including the two small fish given by Ben Ezra, the little boy,

Hunger sated the 5,000 and they felt joy.

God was there on the mountain side,

He watched his son Jesus with great pride.

A church is only a hull if God does not live within,

It is not for Saints, but for we Sinners who sin.

From a small town country church many were saved,

Christians---Heaven bound their golden road was paved.

It is said many talk the talk and boast about---their Salvation,

And others walk the walk with Jesus on this earth---God’s creation.

One can feel God anywhere if your heart and soul is right,

Is your church just a business---where money is the plight?

Do you hear the “Word of God” in church on Sunday morning?

Or goals of raising money----this could be a forewarning.

Take it to the Lord in Prayer,

And, he will be there.

Your heart will hear his answer and then you decide,

Is your church worthy for you to abide.

Take that walk with the Christians of the “Old Church of God” of long ago,

And feel the spirit from within start to glow.

© BEPH 2014 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Run Rachel Run---Chapter 8---Captain Blue’s Act of Freedom

Captain Blue met with his crew after meeting with some other ship captains who considered him a great friend. He told them about the plan he and the other captains had decided to execute. The plan was to rescue all the slaves taken aboard the ‘Slave Ship’ and then they would take them to one of the Captain’s Islands that he made into a town for people just like them.

On his Island he had a regular town with many stores, homes, parks, schools, two hospitals and churches. Everyone who lived there now owned their own businesses and enjoyed life without paying taxes. Captain Blue only allowed his friends and their ships to dock on his Islands. And of course they purchased from the locals who owned the stores.

Daily the Farmer’s Market opened to everyone with the freshest vegetable, fruits, meats, baked good and handmade jewelry and clothes. The Island had a sewing factory which made clothes for the Islanders and to sell. The best trained men the captain could find protected this paradise. And, the best part these men lived on the Island with their families therefore, their loyalty to the Island and Captain Blue went unchallenged.

Captain Blue asked Bones to watch out for Rachel and keep her safe in her cabin while he and his friends with four other ships stopped the slave ship and took the men, women and children aboard safely. And, when Captain Blue made any plan the men carried it out to the last detail.

Early before the fog lifted from the sea and the sunlight stayed hidden behind the mist---five ships surround the Slave ship, and took the people off and put them on their ships. Then the slave ship’s captain listened closely while told to never enter their waters again or his ship would be blown to bits. The man stood before all the Captains and each one made him look them in the face and say that he understood. The slave ship captain could not get away fast enough from the vicious looking captains.

 The shackles quickly removed from the men, women and children and thrown in a barrel for future use in constructing additional parks and homes they would be making on the Island for other people. The people were from different races, Africans, Germans, Spaniards, Caucasians, French and Greek. Everyone cheered and praised the captains.

Each family would be given money to start their own businesses, homes, food, and the children would receive an education. Today started out with these people feeling helpless with no hope for the future, and now to see the happiness on their faces of the 265 people they saved today---made it all worth the risk---- for the captains.

Bones looked into Rachel cabin after knocking and told her Captain Blue had a surprise for her on the Island and he would take her to him. Rachel appeared dressed in a beautiful blue and white dress that faded next to her beauty. Captain Blue waited on the dock at bottom of the ramp and gave Rachel his hand to help her on the dock. However, Rachel did not let his hand go as she held his huge hand in her silky delicate one.
Captain Blue never felt before the rush of such happiness and love he now experienced just holding her hand. 

Rachel looked up into his beautiful eyes and asked,
“Is the surprise something wonderful that happened today?”

“Yes, it is my Dear Rachel and we are almost there.”

Captain Blue and Rachel went inside the large white church with its full congregation and he led her up front. Then he told the audience that it was Rachel who cried when she saw them being led on the slave ship and came back to their ship so distraught that the men immediately told him about it. 

So, he said, “I would not ever have known about your danger in becoming a slave if not for Rachel. I wanted everyone to know that one woman can make a difference in our world, so if you can help someone in your future---please pass the love on to someone else.”

Everyone stood and clapped and some of the women walked forward with their children to thank Rachel, and they all had tears in their eyes as they talked together, others stood back softly crying tear of happiness. 

Bones had set up table for all to eat outside in the cool sea breeze. After everyone had dined each family went to their new homes to start their wonderful life on the Island.

Rachel hugged and kissed Captain Blue on his cheek and he hugged her back---thinking it was too soon for him to kiss her as they walked to his two-storied home on the Island in the twilight---but there was always tomorrow.

© BEPH 2014 All Rights Reserved
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