Old time singing

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some things just do a heart good.

And a lot of hearts were lifted Sunday afternoon at the Old Country Church near Brundidge.

Even on a rather damp, chilly November day, the historic Old Country Church was filled to almost overflowing and the strains of the familiar old hymns could be heard far into the churchyard.

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The singings at the Old Country Church are hosted annually by John and Mary Senn. The couple moved the historic church from its original site at the Hamilton Crossroads Church of Christ in order to preserve the building and the memories that it holds.

For Susan Berry, the old-fashioned singings are a homecoming of sorts.

“When I think about going to ‘John’s singings,’ I remember going to church with my grandmother and hearing those old familiar hymns,” Berry said.

“And, I cannot discount the value of being reconnected to my roots. With the busy lives that we lead today, it is easy to lose contact with who we are and where we came from. There is a great blessing in your heritage.”

After Berry left the singing, she went to the church cemetery and walked the graveyard.

“I never went to church with my grandmother when, after the service, she didn’t take me by the hand and walk me through the graveyard,” she said.

“She would stop at each grave and tell me about each one of them. After such a wonderful experience at the Old Country Church Sunday, I couldn’t leave without walking through the graveyard.”

And Randolph and Louise Johnston couldn’t drive by without stopping at the storied church.

The couple had been visiting relatives and, when they passed the Old Country Church, they were reminded of the song service so they decided to stop. It was their first time to attend the singing and they were glad they did.

Randolph Johnston said there was a special friendliness to the gathering and it was good to see people of all ages come together to sing the old, familiar hymns.

“The old church is such a wonderful setting for people to come together, unified, to sing praises to God,” said Louise Johnston.

“I was impressed with the reverence. Right here before Thanksgiving, it was especially meaningful to be reminded of the bounty of our blessings and God’s mercy, grace, love and compassion.”

Johnston is the organist at Salem Baptist Church in Brundidge. She said the a cappella singing was absolutely beautiful.

“As beautiful as instrumental music is, the lifting of voices makes it unnecessary,” she said.

Roger Gunter is the song leader at Richland Baptist Church and stepped into that role Sunday to lead a form of singing that he calls “unique.”

“I find it interesting that it’s possible to carry a tune that well without a piano in the background,” he said.

“There are so many good singers there and they harmonized so well. It’s just beautiful singing and I enjoy being a part of it.”

John Senn said the singings are a blessing to him and his wife and he enjoys them as much as anyone.

He just smiled and nodded to the many who suggested that the singings be held more often than once a year.

“What at wonderful, wonderful service,” Pauline Cattrett said. “A real blessing to all at this time of year.”