‘Singing at the Old Country Church set for Sunday

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MESSENGER PHOTO/JAINE TREADWELL Douglas Miles, one of the leaders of the singing, leads a song at The Old Country Church.

Douglas Miles, one of the leaders of the singing, leads a song at The Old Country Church.

“The Old Time Religion” is a standard in many Protestant hymnbooks. Although most church-going folks know the words and tune to the gospel song, not many have the opportunity to experience that Old Time Religion in today’s modern world.

But, for one Sunday each year, and one Sunday only, John and Mary Senn open the doors of the Old Country Church and invite all who will to come to an Old Time Religion experience.

For 14 years, John and Mary Senn have been hosting the Singing at the Old Country Church the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And, for many, the Singing at the Old Country Church has become a Thanksgiving tradition.

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“We have people that come year after year and others that come for the first time,” John Senn said. “Some of them come from right down the road and others come from a hundred miles or so. We’re glad to have every one of them join us for this special day of singing.”

The Old Country Church is located on U.S. Highway 231 about four miles south of Brundidge.

The Old Country Church is the original “meeting house” of Hamilton Crossroads Church of Christ. When the new church was built, the Senns had a desire to preserve the original church, so they moved the original structure to its present location. To give the church purpose, they initiated the Singing at the Old Country Church in 2001.

“The singing is the only service that we have at the Old Country Church,” Senn said. “We look forward to it all year long and I think a lot of others do, too. The singing is very special and at a special time of year.”

The old familiar hymns are sung a cappella and in four-part harmony – soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

“We sing all four parts with runs. In most churches, the runs are played by the piano. We sing them,” Senn said. “It’s a different way of singing and it’s beautiful. Even if you’re not familiar with four-part singing, it’s easy to pick up. Everybody sings at the Old Country Church.”

The singing begins promptly at 2 p.m. and will end just as promptly at 3:15 p.m.

“We go on the belief that an hour’s not long enough and an hour and a half is too long,” Senn said.

Those in attendance are given an opportunity to lead their favorite song and the congregation can also request songs.

“We have a chalkboard at the front of the church and write the requests on the board,” Senn said. “We’ll get to as many of them as time allows.”

“The Old Country Church” is a standard at the singing, as is a song written by the late A.A. Shiver, titled “The Greatest Gift” which is attached to the back cover of the “Songs of the Church” songbook.

“The best I know, our songbook is the only one to include this wonderful song,” Senn said.

Senn and his wife have had many requests to open the Old Country Church for more singings.

“We’ve thought about it but it’s just so special the way it is. It’s a tradition,” Senn said. “We’ll start looking forward to the next singing when we’re on the way home. A lot of folks look forward to it all year long. We just want it to stay that way.”