Otway Christian Union Church

Randy Rucker



At one time Agricultural Institutes were held in every Ohio County. Current information on agricultural practices and updates were shared with the rural communities and the Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Agents in Agriculture, 4H and home economics would participate. Local Grange and Soil Conservation officials and others would also attend frequently.

As a Scioto County Extension Agent I would present programming at possibly the last Agricultural Institute in Ohio. I have fond memories of working with Agricultural Agent John Mowbray, the Home Economics Agent Enid Moore and I served as the County 4-H Agent. At that time we served as faculty of Ohio State University serving Scioto County Ohio. Each year we would develop a slide presentation to share. That is a technology of the past, isn’t it?

Though names mostly leave me I remember some great folks we worked with annually at the Otway Institute. I do recall the Hoople Brothers of the Hooples Orchard who would bring samples of their fine apples and other crops for viewing and tasting! This Institute took place at the old Otway School still in existence at that time. Students would decorate the halls festively for the occasion. The teachers and staff at Otway Elementary were very helpful. I remember the principal there as Dean McClay and then there was a teacher John McClay who was the 4-H Steer Club advisor I worked with for some years.

Right next door to the old Otway school is the Otway Christian Union Church. Beverly and I attended this church recently and learned it was built in 1929 and when I learned the Hoople Brothers attended the church that was good for a great memory and smile. They were two great fellows!

Before attending church we had to go down the road about a mile or less to drive through the historic Otway covered wooden bridge built in 1874.

Prior to attending I contacted a friend Dianne Koenig to get the correct church start time and learned that Pastor Brian Justice and his family of Regina, Brooke and Baylee would be vacationing on the day of our visit. This happens now and again but substitute Pastors always do a great job.

Before church it was Carl Moore who taught the morning Sunday School lesson. On this day it was Keith Dettwiller who opened the service. We never got to speak but I would have told him that I could still remember his showing 4-H pigs at the Scioto County Fair and that was one long time ago. His mother Elizabeth Dettwiller was a great 4-H Advisor and member of the Scioto County 4-H Committee and such.

Keith speaking at the time of Christmas said that wise men still seek Jesus today. He said, “I love the Lord and appreciate the opportunity to serve him getting my name written into the lambs book of life with others”.

A lot of church talent shared hymns of the morning including one called, “Jesus, sweetest name I know”. I don’t think I got the second song name but it was very beautiful and it told a beautiful story about one night I lay upon my pillow. Perhaps that was the name after all. Lastly another hymn was called, Grace has paid for me”.

After the service I told Aaron Smith on the guitar and Brad Harris playing the Banjo that their style reminded me of Flatt and Scruggs. Unfortunately I didn’t get names of the others in this very talented song crew!

Brad Harris was also the fill in Pastor today, being a Salvation Army Envoy visiting from Pottsville Pennsylvania today. I was happy to add another Salvation Army friend to my list!

Brad pointed out that his message today would be from Luke Chapter 2 primarily verses 41 through 52. His message was a discussion concerning when Jesus was twelve years old. It was required to attend the Feast of Passover each year. An Angel had told Joseph and Mary that Jesus would be the Son of David and would save those who desire from sin.

Whole villages followed them to the required Feast of Passover. In the confusion Jesus had become lost for three days. We can imagine the panic this may have brought them. Today we would approach our own found children with what do you have to say for yourselves.

In the case of Jesus they found him in the temple where he sat listening to the priests and teachers, asking questions as well. It appeared those he was with were amazed at his questions and understanding. In verse 49 Jesus did not understand his parent’s concern, saying “Why did you seek me? “Did you not know I must be about my Father’s business”?

We might ask what is the Father’s business? Brad went on to say that he didn’t believe that the Father’s business has changed all that much in this time. We do what the Father has instructed us to do through his word.

He concluded by saying that every person should find someone in their prayerful influence in that we may be a positive influence in their lives.

Which that makes me think of one other individual I well knew who attended this Otway Church. Art Koenig owned a Tulip Farm not far from here. He built it up to a point that people from all over the world came to see his farm, I included. In fact I once wrote a children’s book called Arthur’s Tulips which I have yet to publish. Art planted much more than tulips in this Otway community, he left a legacy that I was reminded of in today’s 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!


Randy Rucker

Reach Randy Rucker at Ohiorancher5@gmail.com.

Reach Randy Rucker at Ohiorancher5@gmail.com.