It was Branch Rickey, “Baseball’s ferocious gentleman” who brought Jackie Robinson into baseball. Though he was born in Stockdale Ohio. his family took him as a boy to another beautiful farm where he was raised. His story was an incredible one and the values he learned in a very small country community stayed with him through his life. But the story is longer than that in that this same small community along a rural road raised an Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and the Internationally known Folk Singer Steve Free. Lastly a hero of any boy born in the 1940’s or 50s roamed the area and never forgot his roots.
An old schoolhouse sits next door to a church we visited on a recent Sunday morning. If it isn’t enough that the Branch Rickey homestead and a historical marker sits maybe a mile down the road the old schoolhouse which is part of the church property is where the King of Cowboy’s, Roy Rogers then Leonard Slye went to school and performed on occasion.
An old church sat to the front of this newer church built in 1971. The original church was dedicated in 1904. It was raised on March 29 of 1969. I notice that the present church was built to look much like the old church.
With such a history why would anyone be surprised to experience musical talent as Beverly, I, Chris and Stephanie Neff found in our visit to the Duck Run Community Church.
Playing numerous hymns as the congregation sang throughout the morning were Harold Boldman, Greg Miller and Terry Breech on the guitar. On a piano was Toby Gilley and Paul Mangus added to the touch playing a banjo! Tabaitha Smalley helped me come up with my names list.
I quickly learned that adult Sunday School teacher Paul Mangus is a descendant of Roy Rogers through the Perdue line. He shares the family talent for music.
The morning Sunday School Service opened with a pledge to the bible, pledge to the Christian flag and a pledge to our U.S.Flag to round out the opening.
A sign behind the pulpit in the upper front area of the church said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
With church Pastor Curt Jones on vacation an evangelist guest Pastor Roger Lavender gave a very inspiring message. Following as we talked he asked if we were the ones visiting local churches and writing about those visits and I said that be us. He said he reads them all and of course I appreciated that.
Roger’s sermon on this day was based on the tenth chapter of Mark. He shared a valuable testimony of his friendship and association with the past Bob Vanhoose who I think he said was the original owner of Big Sandy Furniture. he explained that Bob became a Christian later in life but he became very devoted in his religion. At some point he began writing a series called “Homily Grits” having developed readership around the world. Within his writing Mr. Vanhoose (also known as Big Sandy Bob) shared a moving dying testimony which he shared in Homily Grits number 7. It was very moving and Pastor Lavender said he never saw anyone having more fun or happiness in their last days.
Also he shared that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. He said that God is truth! Also that “we should not go by party lines but by the word of God.” He quoted his mother in saying that “life is everlasting if we will keep our little hands in his big hands.” A deacon once told him, “Roger….stay close to the cross and you will never go wrong.”
One of the closing songs was “the Lord will make a way somehow.”
Holding up the bible he said this is the beginning and the end. I have read the last page of the book and we win regardless. He is the waymaker!
Stop by and pay the Duck Run Community Church a visit. As believers, let us share the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior of the World! Each one, reach one! See ya in church!
Reach Randy Rucker at Ohiorancher5@gmail.com.