Friday, November 3, 2017

The Old Country Church- Bethabara Baptist, Cane Island





























Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them"

Bethabara Baptist Church is situated on Cane Island in Northeast Arkansas, and was established in the 1880's. During the early years, hitching posts dotted the church yard for the many wagons and horses that were the modes of transportation in that era. In later years, a tractor or a bob-truck could be seen parked among the pickups with a few cars here and there. I don't know what the original building looked like or when the one in the above picture was built, but I know this building has served the community well for many years.

Progress in farming machinery has allowed farmers to plant and harvest crops on hundreds of acres scattered across the county. The small family farm of forty acres no longer exists in this world of more is better. The descendants of those farmers who inherited the land now rent it out as they have no interest in farming it themselves.

Times change, and with those changes the landscape changes too. At one time, the community of Cane Island had so many houses and so many school-children that the bus had standing room only at the end of the route.

 The fields were separated with fence rows of honeysuckle vines intertwined with scrub brush amid small trees.  The roads were dirt or gravel, at best, and the dust kicked up by the truck tires would cover front porches that were close to the road.

Now as you drive on the levee road, the church and the few houses still there are in clear view. The land is wide open, planted with crops of cotton, soybeans, corn and peanuts as far as the eye can see.

That old country church is coming down. The faithful members of this congregation have built a family life center behind the old church, and I was privileged to be there in September when they hosted a luncheon for the area farmers. What a proud and happy day. The family life center will serve as a place of worship until a new sanctuary building is completed. Praise and worship will continue just as it has since the 1880's. 






The building will be new but the "church" is the same. Some of the members have never worshiped anywhere else. They were saved and baptized in that little white church over fifty years ago. 



The Old Country Church 

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.

Hundreds of devoted, hard-working Christian people brought their families and served as teachers, choir members, deacons, ushers, and even janitors if the church needed to be cleaned. Children learned about Jesus in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.

Oh, I'll never forget
At the old country church
How the glory of the Lord came down
And the children would smile
As they shouted down the aisle
Of that old, of that old country church

Several generations have passed through those doors and their descendants are many of the members today. They are a small congregation, but they are huge warriors for Christ!

Then on Sunday I'd see
All my friends dear to me
At that old, at that old
Country church, country church
When we'd kneel down to prayer
Everybody would be there
At that old, at that old
Country church

Now the years have gone by
And so many have died
At the old country church
But they're on the other shore
Where they'll sing forever more
As they did at that old country church

 Many loved ones have been residents of Heaven for many, many
 years.We will join them one by one, and just maybe somewhere along those streets of gold we will come upon an 
Old Country Church.