Eleven years ago, my husband answered God’s call to the ministry. We had no idea what this would look like for our family!
He accepted a Children’s Ministry position at a small church far out in the country. We left both our home churches, the ones we grew up in, for this new adventure!
Our first visit to West Union was for the Easter egg hunt in 2006.
We went to Sunday School for the first time and met Mrs. Louise. She was the teacher for the preschool class. We had 2 kids in this class, so this was where I stayed. I never left. I have helped Mrs. Louise in this class for 11 years. She and her husband, K. M., are now like family to us and our children.
This sweet little, white sided church is over 150 years old and has a rich history of family! Each year, the church has a homecoming service, which the older members call, “First Sunday,” as it is always the first Sunday in August.
Families journey back to West Union,sometimes from as far away as Virginia, Florida, and New York, for a chance to worship where their family once did. Some have family members from several generations buried at the church cemetery. Some remember coming as a child to the country to church. Everyone seems to have a family connection to West Union. Each person has a grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt or uncle that once attended.
During the homecoming service, Mr. Robert King is in charge of introductions, and usually adds in a joke or two. West Union doesn’t do the typical gospel-singing group. He and his family have been a part of West Union for more than 50 years. Each family introduces themselves giving the names and sometimes the family history relating to West Union. West Union seems to have been a bustling area in its time and now is difficult to find, even with GPS! Mr. Robert often adds a funny detail about the family, as he knows each one!
This service is very special as the small country church often hosts 150+ people on First Sunday.
This family history always seemed to relate to everyone except for us. We come from a different town, didn’t seem to have family ties!
My dad’s cousin visited him during an illness a few months ago. The conversations they had led to the information that changed our perspective of West Union.
My grandmother’s (Eleanor Wright Cannon) grandparents lived in the community that surrounds West Union. My great, great grandparents (John L.(Squire) Camp and Chloe Robinette Camp) are buried in the church cemetery, which has graves dating back to the Civil War. John passed away in 1922, and Chloe passed away in 1925. This means that my Mamaw likely attended funeral services and graveside services at this little church that we have called home for so long!
This conversation between my dad and his cousin also led me to a man with more family history. He sent pictures of other family members.
I would love to have a few more days with my grandparents to chat about the memories they have of times I will never know about!
Our memories are so special of our time at this sweet little church. It is, essentially, our home church. We, Justin and I, both grew up in different churches. West Union is the church where we grew as a family, the only church our children have attended, where our marriage grew through working on many projects together.
Vacation Bible School each summer.
The Cecil Futch Memorial Wild Game Dinner for several years in the Spring.
The Fall Festival.
The kids Christmas program.
All sweet memories that allowed us to build the skill of working together.
This Easter is also special. This will be our last Easter egg hunt at West Union. We definitely see God’s hand in many coincidences over the past months. One is that we started this ministry journey at West Union at Easter. Our time at West Union will now end at Easter.
Justin answered God’s call to the ministry years ago.
He is now transitioning from Children and Youth Pastor at West Union to Pastor at Antioch Baptist. This is an exciting time for our family. With this excitement comes uncertainty. I have never been a pastors wife. My children are comfortable and know everyone’s name at West Union. Learning the many new friends names at Antioch will prove to be a task. There are so many friendly faces. We have worshipped with the sweet people at Antioch for 3 services and know that this is where God is leading. He has answered our prayers and made it obvious that we are to take this step! He is good! All the time!!!
Please keep our family in your prayers as we enter a new season and as we strive to keep old relationships in tact while making new friends and church family! We are excited to see what God has in store for us, Antioch and West Union!!!! He is always working!!!