Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Embrace Old Churches

Photo by gifted photograher, Gerry Mooney

This old church in McAllister, Montana is a treasure! The bell in the dome still rings, though the organ in the church no longer plays and the roof and foundation of it are compromised. It needs a lot of TLC.

Its history goes back to 1885 – when the land was gifted to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1887 the structure was completed. It was transferred to the Presbyterian Church (where Bob & I are members) in 1952.

We (as a congregation) love this old church, and many of our members, their friends, and their grandparents or parents or children or grandchildren have been married or baptized there.

Preserving precious old churches such as this one is an ongoing responsibility. It is costly and time-consuming. Respect for what it was and how it served its community in decades past keep us loving those old buildings.

Here are a few others that are treasures in their communities. If only they could talk!

Sadly abandoned old church
Is God still in there?

Matthew 16:6.
In many ways Matthew chapter 16
is a chapter about the church.
Jesus was the first to mention the church.
He only mentions the church twice,
and both times are here in the book of Matthew.

In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said,
“And I say unto you,
That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

This is the first time that Jesus used the word church.
He used the word church only twice,
so it is good to know exactly what Jesus taught about the church.
It may be that the things that Jesus taught about church
are the things that are the most important to know about it.

Church is a place to trust in God’s promised presence
( Matthew 18:20)
as we worship Him together,
out of a sense of love and obedience
( Colossians 3:16 ).

When the church is functioning biblically,
it’s more active and alive when the seats are empty,
and the community is filled with those
seeking to activate the gospel in love for each other.

Many of these old churches were also home
to the cemeteries that bear the tombstones
of its deceased members.

What a shame to allow them to
deteriorate and collapse.
But, who has the money
for restoration and maintenance?

Weekly church attendance is down in our society today.
It sometimes downplayed into a legalistic ritual.
According to Pewforum.org, 61% of churchgoers
attend to feel closer to God,
while a sizable majority of non-churchgoers
state they practice their faith in other ways.

Which is the right way?
Modern society may beg us
to believe the choice is ours,
but biblical truth is clear
about going to church.

Jesus Christ seeks in earnest
to meet us on a day set aside
to commemorate His defeat of death,
to equip us to sustain our faith until He returns.

I am so grateful for my friends
who sit in the pews with me every Sunday.
Indeed, they help me sustain my faith.

Old churches remind us of the
value placed on weekly worship
in communities gone by.

Let’s all work to keep our churches
vibrant, healthy, and inviting.
Don’t let it become a place of ruin!

Oh the church in the valley
Is a place I know so well…
Listen to Jim & Jesse
sing to you about it:

Do you have a little old white church in your history?

Comments on: "Embrace Old Churches" (22)

  1. Elaina Colby said:

    As I sat in my service this past Sunday, alone on my pew and a good 6 to 8 feet from the next couple of people, I fought with that feeling of sadness and loneliness. I prayed multiple times that God would help me find other ways to encourage people to return to church. Normally my friend Wendy attends with me but she was out of town. I counted the number of people in attendance and it was about 68. I think our church holds at least 300. On average before Covid the attendance was already low, at around 90 to 100. Summer time is always a tough time for our church because many people have holiday homes in Ocean City or in other places or they take vacations. Covid has further impacted attendance and now, starting next week, we have to return to wearing masks in church with no singing. Why do the churches continue to get penalized and restricted? Every Wednesday I attend Trivia at a local bar/restaurant and there are at least 68 people in the tight 40’ x 40‘ space of the restaurant and no one is wearing a mask. People walk around. There’s laughing and talking and singing. Where is the logic?? But as for your post, I did love seeing all the photos of the old churches. I love seeing old churches and thinking about the history that goes along with them.

    • I agree, Laina, that the inconsistency of mask wearing is part of what makes it hard for some people to support the need. I also agree that the pandemic has changed people’s church attendance habits. I wonder if we will ever recover from `this down turn? I’m glad you enjoyed the nostalgic walk down Church Meory Lane! I wish they could tell us their history!!

  2. Jan, this post reminds me of a special white church in Circle, Montana. First Lutheran Church was my church home for 22 years. The original church was just the basement (built around World War I) with the sanctuary built on top in the 1920s. An addition was added in the 1960s with space for classrooms, kitchen, and fellowship room.

    • Interesting history for that church, {{{Richard}}} – Our little McAllister church has electricity, but no running water!

  3. Church has always been a part of my life and just was not the same during covid shut down. In addition to the spiritual significance is the importance of community found there. Support is more important than ever in this time. Great post Jan.

  4. I am also Methodist and I have preach in many churches that were over two hundred years old. I have always been fascinate with these churches. They are simply beautiful

  5. Beautiful post Jan!! I have a kitty white church I added for several years growing up. It has a cemetery and that’s where many of my relatives rest, including my dear mom.

  6. Wow, I wasn’t paying attention to the auto correct… I attended a little white church for several years growing up. It’s only a few miles from where I grew up . It has a cemetery where many of my relatives rest, including my dear mom.

  7. A splendid collection, and heartfelt plea for maintenance

  8. They’re lovely buildings! Great photos. I am a big fan of chapels too…prayed many many times on my campus’ chapel when I was in school.

    • Like you, I have an affection for the chapel at my College of the Pacific (U of P) in Stockton, CA. I attended there every Sunday as a student there – and then not only were Bob & I married there, but 25 years later, our daughter’s wedding was there, too. <3

      • That’s a great school and one of my friend’s son went there. I love how schools have chapels for students; as students the pressure pushes you to seek God. That was a main impetus for me, like thinking about what am I going to do with my life, passing finals, and finally graduating.
        How meaningful that your daughter’s wedding was held there. Do you still live in CA?

      • Hi! o, we don’t live in CA anymore, but our son and his family does, and two of Bob’s three siblings are there. We currently live in Montana.

      • Montana sounds like a great place with lots of land, national parks, nature outings, and of course Yellowstone National park. I visited that park when I was in junior high school and have lots of photos with me in front of the hot springs.
        I hope your family members and your son’s family are staying well in CA. It’s kind of crazy in the bay area these days with wildfires, wildfire smoke, drought, and the rise in Covid numbers. God help us all!! Have a great start to the weekend and take care.

  9. Beautiful churches, thanks for sharing! ⛪

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