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Mt. Moriah Homecoming Oct. 8

Mt. Moriah Fellowship Church invites you to join them at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, for the Annual Homecoming and Memorial Service, the only scheduled service of the year.

It has been 195 years since this little “Church That Would Not Die” was founded. The church sits on the line of Wilcox and Butler Counties; it is also in two townships, two sections and four different sections of land.

When the preacher preaches at the front of the church in Wilcox County, he or she can be heard clear into Butler County, the next county. (It is only two or three feet away!)

Following the service will be “dinner on the ground.”  The meat for the dinner will be provided but please bring a side dish or dessert with serving pieces clearly identified with your name.

Please RSVP to James Carmichael at “jamescar2007@gmail.com.”

This little church that refuses to die has had no pastor for the last 82 years when Rev. Wm. H. Kamplain preached his last sermon there, nor has it had a single enrolled living member for 52 years when the last enrolled member, Rose Fitzgerald Luckie (Mrs. Claude Luckie) died in 1971.

The Moderator for this service is Daniel Troy Carmichael 1st.

The speaker for this 195th year celebration is Rev. Madison Roberts, Pastor of the Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. Broadly educated, he obtained an Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech, a Juris Prudence Degree from Mercer University, and his M.Div. Degree in 2021 from Princeton Theological Seminary. Each of these endeavors has been accompanied by impressive uses of his skills.

Not an “ivory tower” man, his interests can astound as well as bring chuckles. He was a finalist in the 2004 Krystal eating competition at the Georgia National Fair; won a “Dancing with the Stars” competition as a fundraiser for his favorite nonprofit; has sung “Stand By Me,” live and on-stage, at over 20 weddings. His hobbies are golf, woodworking, fly fishing, coaching his sons in baseball, styling his daughter’s hair, and taking his wife on dates.

Madison and his wife “Becca” have two sons and a daughter, Hosford (15), Pryor (12), and Carolyn (9). He says: “having children is like Christmas morning every day (but it can sometimes turn into a post-apocalyptic meltdown by evening).

As a preacher, new to this work, he is eager and excited about preaching the Gospel.  God has never before been so clear about His plans for the work he is to do.

For this Mt. Moriah Homecoming, the voices and instruments of this random group of talented cousins will serve as the “choir of talented singing and strumming angels.” A decade or so years ago, in jest, they named themselves “The Yeldell Yellers!” (Be careful what you want! You’ll get it!) These gifted cousins are (ladies first!) Danna Strickland (of Montgomery: Waller, Luckie & Yeldell lineage); Louise McEvoy (of Catherine: Strother, Robins, Donald, Steen, Caldwell & Yeldell lineage); Robin McMurtrie (of Hampton Cove: Strother, Robins, Donald & Yeldell lineage); Don Carmichael Jr (of Chelsea: Donald, Yeldell, Atkins, Steen & Powell lineage); Robert L. Robinson, Jr (of Birmingham: Donald, Caldwell, Steen, Yeldell lineage); Lloyd Strickland (of Millbrook: Waller, Luckie & Yeldell lineage).

Ushers for this Homecoming service will be brothers, Robert Lewis “Tripp” Robinson III and Jackson Monroe Robinson.

HISTORY, LONG AGO AND RECENT

During the time that John Quincy Adams served as the sixth President of the United States, in the fairly recently formed State of Alabama a small group of seven land-owning men, four of their wives, and one slave, all faith filled Christians of the Baptist persuasion, joined together to form a church on May 3, 1828.  It was in an area called Mt. Moriah, and they named the new church “Fellowship”.  They had seen a deep need for a place of religious worship, discipline, structure and fellowship.

At least two of the men, their wives and the slave had “planted” other churches in Wilcox and Butler Counties and perhaps in the other nearby five counties that were within riding distance. They drew up twelve Articles of Faith and twelve Rules of Decorm [sic]. Besides articles of faith similar to those of todays’ churches, they promised each other to “renounce the vain and sinful customs and habits of the world and Live Soberly righteously and Godly” lives. On May 31 they “opened a door for the Reception of Members and Received by Experience Sister Phoebe a Col woman the property of Garland Burt” … the first new member of the church.

The little church grew and by 1843 it had 144 members. The righteous energy of the church, trying to keep the membership from the “vain and sinful customs and habits of the world” brought the transgressors before the monthly Conference and the record of the good as well as the mis-actions and mis-deeds and corrective or coercive actions were recorded for posterity.

All was well for about a year when on June 6, 1829 they “took up the case of Brother Sawney for Carnal Communication with another woman not his wife …” but held the matter until the next month when they could not act upon it again because of his absence, and finally in August 1829, Sawney was expelled “for Crime of adultry”. This was part of the business for several months. He was later accepted back into Fellowship with the church.

On January 2, 1830 the church “took of the Case of Sister Mary danvills [sic] and Expelled her for Marrying a Second Husband whilst her first Husband was Living.”

Within the Records, among the mix of church actions are notations of members joining, being dismissed, transferred, squabbles, with committees appointed to investigate the problems and other committees appointed to work with other churches to help solve their problems.

However, the problems, difficulties and misbehaviors of those early members are the most puzzling or interesting to read and reflect upon particularly when compared to our less stringent obedience to attendance and other rules. The case of “Brother Nathan Williams” who in March of 1832 was brought up as an errant member of the congregation by Brother Hays who “reported that he saw Brother Williams and … Cited him to attend and he said it was out of his power to attend as he was Compeld [sic] to be on the road to Blakely … .”  The church deliberated and concluded that “we view it disorder in any Brother that will be on the Road with their Carrage on the Sabath either in gowing [going] to or from Market without a peovidential [providential] Cause.” Having been found in “disorder” he was removed from the fellowship of the church. In June the church again “Took up the Case of Brother William for non attendance and Brother Williams being present and made his Excuse that he followed waggoing [sic] for Employment in the Service of another man and that it was out of his power to attend any oftener Conveniently and said that he wished to attend as often as Lay in his power.” Again the church deliberated and “the case was Laid over untill next Conference” which they did, and “the Brethren Restord him to the fellowship of the church.”

Brother Williams was “Expeld” again the next March for the same reason.

Today, in 2023, in the day when second homes, sports activities, golf, a beautiful day and other such temptations keep many members away without much of a thought, it is hard for us to believe that 195 years ago an absence that we would consider legitimate would cause a congregation to dissolve a person’s membership.

MEMORIALS:

Dr. John Leslie Carmichael, age 93, Birmingham, 1930-2022;

Erskine Grier “Don” Donald, III, 83, Pine Apple 1940-2023;

Hugh Joseph Dudley, age 97, Huntsville; 1924-2022;

Frances Folmar Miller, 76, Titus; 1946-2023;

Melvyn Douglas Stone, 82, Greenville; 1940-2023

PLEASE NOTE: at Mt. Moriah Fellowship Church on Sunday, Oct. 8, at the 11 a.m. service, complete, original copies of the obituaries of these very impressive lives will be available at the church.

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