The church was the center of the community and the only gathering place when we were young. The only places we went were to school, to church and occasionally to Clayton. In our earlier years, we shared a pastor with Head of Tennessee Baptist church, but both churches were later able to call full time pastors. Beth played the piano and I did too after she went away to work and college. I was never very good at it, even though I took piano several years from Miss Van Gorder. I remember going to GAs (Girls Auxiliary) and BTU (Baptist Training Union). We walked most of the time until in 1950 we bought a new Chevy pickup.
Bill and I were married in the church that was torn down to make way for the current sanctuary. It was the first formal church wedding in 40 years and most people came that were invited. (that wedding was Bill Page's grandfather and grandmother)
One of our pastors was James F. Marchman. His daughter, Margaret, was a missionary to Africa. I remember one time when she came home on furlough, she was teaching the church about Africa and their customs in Nigeria and she had me dress up in a red wedding outfit. I was pretty small then. I remember thinking how odd it was to get married in red.
In the second old sanctuary, when we were real young, I remember having singing conventions.......that is singing the do-so-la kind of music. I hope I said that right. We would also have people come in from all over the county, sing all afternoon and have "dinner on the ground". Carlton Coleman was always in the middle of those as he loved to sing and led the singing at our church on a regular basis when I was playing the piano ...late in my high school years.
I believe the second building was built around 1909. The original building which was used for a school and church was built around 1890s. There is a photo of students and teachers of the Wolffork School showing many kids, parents and teachers in a book of Beth's called "Yesterday's Rabun". I tried to scan it, but it did not do very well. Also a photo of the newer church in 1909 with quite a gathering of people in front of the church. Those two original photos are in the possession of Georgia Department of Archives and History.
Abraham Keener gave the land where the church is located. My dad's funeral in 1981 was in the second sanctuary, which had hard, straight backed pews. Daddy was always uncomfortable sitting and complained about how hard they were since he was pretty slender. After he passed away, many people donated money in his memory and the church bought pads for all the pews in his memory....James M. Dickerson.
I remember with fondness the covered dish dinners we had outside under the trees.......lots of good food. However, now they have a new kitchen and usually have the dinners inside in the dining room.
The early church structure did not have a baptistery and the second one did not have one for a long time . Many of the Dickersons, Keeners, Thurmonds, Hoppers, etc. were baptized in Bill's Mill Pond. The water coming off the mountain into that pond was ice cold and you came out of that water bluer than blue!
Bible School was always held in the summer and it was always lots of fun. All the kids in the community would not want to miss that week or two.
If you get a chance to go in the current sanctuary building you will notice a lot of beautiful oak woodwork. Much of the baseboard is made from oak boards that Daddy had in our barn for years. Mama gave it to the church and they had it finished and used in that manner. That lumber was sawn by Daddy and Uncle Melton Dickerson on Melton's home made saw mill he made using an old car motor for power.......way back there....even some of the lumber for our home was sawn on it in the early 30s.
Isn't this a beautiful picture that Beverly took of
the view through the window?
As you sit in the church the view from the pews toward the pulpit looks out on the beautiful mountains behind our house there. It's hard to look at the preacher when the view is so beautiful. One Sunday we were listening to the preacher and looking at the view when a great gray heron flew by outside. You tend to forget what you are hearing!! You have a great photo of the view from inside the church to the mountains.
I keep thinking of things.........when someone died in the community, one of the men would go to the church and toll the bell to alert everyone that there had been a death. Also, each Sunday morning and evening someone would ring the bell to let everyone know it was time to start the service. It was rung several times to get your attention. If the bell was rung any other time than Sun. a.m. you knew someone was dead. It was rung as many times as the person was years old (65 yrs old, it was rung 65 times) That way you would know many times who it was, because you knew most everybody and their age. I remember it clearly and in 1950-51, when we got party line phones, we got on the phone to see for sure. Before that word got around somehow. Those folks that had cars would make sure everyone knew about whoever it was. This practice was discontinued when the new sanctuary was built as the bell was not used in the new sanctuary.