Sunday, November 07, 2010


A Celebration Of Rural Life Sunday @ Tinney Chapel

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Homecoming & Rural Life Sunday @ Tinney Chapel November 7

Members of Tinney Chapel United Methodist Church invited the public to share a celebration of Homecoming and Rural Life Sunday today, November 7, with special music provided by local Wood County talent during a cabaret style setting in the church’s Family Life Center auditorium.

Following the 9:30 a.m. Sunday School program and worship service at 11:00 a.m., an old-fashioned washtub stew, cornbread and desserts materialized, produced by the members of the Tinney Chapel congregation, which has twice received the North Texas Conference award for best rural ministry.

Wagon and train rides, games and contests included such favorites as Ronny Ellison’s rooster chase scramble event, in which winners actually take home their captured roosters, and much more as you can see by the photos above. This year's primary sponsors for Rural Life Sunday are Alicia Moore and Georgia Goggans, and our entire congregation is grateful to them.

Rural Life Sunday’s celebration and Homecoming was staged on three rustic rural acres surrounding Tinney Chapel’s spacious Family Life Center. Look in any direction from the campus of this church, and only farmland, meadows and livestock are visible as far as the eye can see.

Rural Life Sunday at Tinney Chapel is the modern equivalent of old-time harvest festivals, which took root in a pre-industrial United States, then largely an agricultural nation steeped in agrarian culture.

One might also compare Rural Life Sunday to some Old Testament feasts which celebrated God's favor by honoring divine blessings of bountiful harvest seasons.

To this writer, Rural Life Sunday recalls a personal birthright: A hardscrabble farm boyhood spent wresting sustenance from the soil, a time when I learned to love my neighbors as those who assisted me in agricultural emergencies, comforted me during periods of family crises and nourished my soul during Sunday School and worship at Tinney Chapel.

Here, at the quintessential country church, congregants traditionally arrive for this event in denim or the equivalent, coveralls or bib overalls, mimicking the ideal of farm work clothing.

A few years ago, one of Tinney Chapel's long-time members, Bobbie Hollingsworth, sang the praises of this annual event: It's important, and we all look forward to it, she said. That was the year that one of our church's Certified Lay Speakers, Angela Wylie, compiled a booklet of letters by church members expressing why they love their church.

A rural church is where God seems closest, said Angela at that time. She mentioned the fields surrounding Tinney Chapel's rural campus, the wide open sky above, the sweet air and, of course, the history of this 110-year-old country church.

Tinney Chapel received the Marvin T. Judy Award for Excellence In Rural Ministry in 2002 and 2004, and also received the Kate Warnick Award for Best Church Story in 2004 for Arvinell McClaren's history book, Going To The Chapel.

Rural Life Sunday has become a special event for all of us at Tinney Chapel, a church founded by farmers for farmers in 1900, and still going strong. This year's added attraction, Homecoming, should add another dimension to an already unique occurrence.

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