The True Vine Tabernacle

Randy Rucker



In that Beverly was out of town visiting a sister with another sister I had to make a decision on which church I would attend on a recent weekend.

I had scouted three but as I awoke was not decided on where I would attend. Feeling a little melancholy I thought I would like to attend a church in the Wildwood as a song might suggest. I picked the one that reminded me of the little churches in Cades Cove within the Smoky Mountains.

Little did I know that two of the members of The True Vine Tabernacle had been asking the Lord to bring them someone. Perhaps one should be careful of what they are praying for because, well they got me! I may have had the same lead because as the sun rose I was drawn in that direction. Pastor for the church is Dale Madden.

On the wall, a sign reads: Come into me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn more of me. For I am meek and lowly in heart. And ye shall find rest into your souls.

The church sound system was really efficient allowing the beautiful songs being sung through the morning to carry throughout the room. As it opened the Pastor asked a fellow if he would play the piano but I think it was a bit of kidding. They don’t have a piano player and I couldn’t help them with that.”

Matthew 12: 28 and 29 was introduced as part of the lesson topic for the morning Sunday School lesson. A combined Sunday School /Church started at 10 a.m. with today’s lesson being taught by Linna Madden, wife of the Pastor. She also led the song service with old hymns such as Living by Faith, The Gloryland Way and when the Roll is called up yonder.

I think I heard them say that this congregation was blessed to continue this church after it closed down about five months ago. I remember being very disappointed in hearing that it had as I was closing in on a visit date at that time.

In openingMadden had said we are so blessed. He said he is personally blessed in that Jesus was able to reach down into the inner part of his soul. He exclaimed that he gets excited about Jesus pointing out that Jesus is the way!

Linna Madden opened a scripture lesson from about Genesis 27 through 33. She discussed extensively the relationship between Isacc and each son, Jacob and Esau going on to discuss the struggles of the family, Isacc, the Angel and the Lord!

Then something happened in that Linna said we would take turns reading the bible scripture in today’s lesson. I later told them that in eighty some churches I had never been asked to read bible verses. Wouldn’t you know this would happen on the day Beverly wasn’t with me? She always has the scripture we are following open on her cell phone. Each of the times it was my turn to read Nancy McKenzie would rise and bring her bible back to my seat for me to read. I so appreciated that and like to think I made a new friend. In fact, I like to think I made friends with all in this church.

Madden said that he loves Jesus because he came and died for me. He said he is my Lord, my protector, my provider. He is the only one we can count on! I love Jesus today! He discussed many things in his message this day.

Then Madden said that he had once been writing at home when he said to his wife Lenna, “Honey, I have something here, I think I have a song.” So then he gave her the script and she went to a computer and began to write. Then they began to sing and it is a very beautiful piece of music!

One thing I loved on this day was several times the congregation was asked to clap for Jesus. I enjoyed clapping for Jesus as much as any.

Later I learned that Nancy McKenzie is also the Pastor’s sister. Dale’s mother, Thelma Wheeler was also in attendance. On a side note, Nancy said she also attends Rubyville Community Church but had been helping to get this church up and running from the beginning.

Everyone at church today participated in the service. It was lovely. I enjoyed it so much. It was another great blessing! In closing each congregation member was asked to come forward to stand around a little prayer church. Prayers of today were written down and added to the prayers already included in the house. Then all held hands and prayed!

It is a church treasure setting in an area that would cause one to think they are worshipping in the mountains or valleys of the Smokies or Cade’s Cove!

To get there you follow the road to the White Gravel Christmas Cave and travel a short distance looking for The True Vine Tabernacle on your left. Take your family, children, grab some friends and find your way to this wonderful church in the Valley of the beautiful hills. Maybe you will hear the grouse drumming or the turkeys gobbling as I did. But surely you will find the enthusiasm and melodious songs and testimony of these great folks! Tell them Randy Rucker sent ya!

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

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