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Church – the cement of a community and its people

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com

Oh, I’d like to go back
To that old country church
To hear the songs of praise
How the people would sing
It would make the rafters ring
At that old, at that old country church
— The Old Country Church by Squire Parsons and Terry Blackwood

While driving over many roads during a span of a lifetime, there have been many towns and communities that each have driven through and if there is one thing that stands out in those communities that have been the bond, or cement if you will, that has held those towns together has been the churches.

Now, to set things straight the church is not the building but the body that fills the pews and chairs each week that makes up the church.

However, when growing up as a child and parents would say we are going to church one would be focused on the building unto growing a deeper understanding of what the church truly was.

To say that the local churches in Carter County are the one bonding feature that has made our county hold strong through thick and thin would be an understatement.

Yes, we sit squarely in the Bible Belt of the South and that makes church as we know it more relevant than ever.

Taking a recent drive through parts of the county, I came across several churches that were of different sizes and shapes, made of different products, and with different styles of signs to welcome visitors.

There were traditionally shaped churches, small and large churches, churches that were built for the sole purpose of church and churches that were made out of where a former home once stood.

And to be completely honest, it doesn’t really matter about any of the previously mentioned statements.

The only really important part of any church is that they are built where men, women, boys, and girls can come into a building that was made for the presence of God to indwell and to worship with one another.

I remember growing up as a very young boy and my great-granddad telling me that church was a place where a sinner with a hardened heart could enter and leave with a heart oozing love.

It was a place where the heavy burdened could enter and drop their load and leave with a lighter step. It was a place where people who hard broken hearts could enter and leave with a completely healed heart.

And lastly, it was a place where no one could ever be able to find enough containers to hold the tears that flowed from deep within the soul of man.

Churches have always been a refuge where a community could come together and support one another through times of heartache and disaster either in the community or to the four corners of the world.

A vivid example was when 9/11 occurred, people flocked to churches that hadn’t been to church in a long time as the threat of attack on U.S. soil had become a reality.

Our community has pulled together through our churches during the Roan Mountain flood and when members of our community depart this life.

One could even go as far as to say that churches are not only the cement that holds a community together but are the pulse or the heartbeat of that county.

Carter County is truly blessed with churches from north to south and east to west where residents can find a Tabernacle, House of God, or House of Prayer — however, you may wish to refer to a church, where they can fit in and worship together in a church body.

In today’s Lifestyles, we offer up thanks to all the churches in our county for being a bonding agent for our community throughout the good times and the bad.