As a rule I mull over and then go after my blog subjects, but on a chill December Sunday one came right to me.
I turned down the top corner of the morning paper to read a short notice about a Christmas service. What was unusual was that it would be held at a restored church close to where I grew up; in the details were caroling, cider, cookies, and a warning to dress warmly because the building was not heated.
We were to eat lunch with friends at Pokagon State Park near Angola that day, so the 3 p.m. celebration at Historic Powers Church on Old Road 1 was good, if not perfect, timing.
In the middle of the Midwest (York Township of Steuben County), where corn is grown and stored as it was in centuries past, sits the two-room church. It was constructed in 1876, the centennial of our nation. The Powers Family had settled there 40 years earlier and donated the land. Building costs were under $2000.
Non-denominational worship services were held every week at the Powers Church for about 50 years. Then, for another 20 years, it hosted funerals and other community events. The family and other interested persons refurbished it in the 1970s: with original pews, wallpaper, stoves and pump organ, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
As we walked in we heard selections of the Christmas story from Luke 2, and a dulcimer accompanying folks who sang the same carols that had echoed in the same place 140 years before.
I looked out a window at a large boulder on which was mounted a plaque telling the church’s history, beyond which is an old cemetery.
Those who rest there would be glad to know their house of worship is still a place where people come to hear the Christmas Story. It is also open for Sunday services three weekends during the summer.
Currently there is a campaign to raise $40,000 needed to replace the original steeple. If you are interested in helping, contact Marcia Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org.