Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Revival Adds Life to Season

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Revival Adds Life to Season

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

Summer church revivals, once the big events of the summer, have nearly faded away. They didn't wilt from heat. Vacations have pushed many aside.

That's the opinion of my friend and former neighbor, the Rev. Marlon Pittman, pastor of Astoria Baptist Church, a little country church south of Waycross. Pittman says he'll hold an October revival because a lot of folks are gone in the summer on trips to the mountains, the beach and various and sundry theme parks.

"A lot of little churches can't get enough people in the summer to keep the doors open,'' Pittman said.

With modern air conditioning set for the comfort of the chairman of the deacons board, folks can worship in cool comfort, even in August. It used to be folks just lived with the heat.

Back in South Carolina at Shiloh Baptist, we did what most Baptist churches did: We held a week-long revival on the hottest summer nights. They started kind of slowly with the regular crowd and built by word-of-mouth until the church was packed on that last Sunday night. That was when the most back-slid miscreants, recognizing their last chance to get right, walked the aisle to receive the right hand of fellowship from the preacher while their wives and mamas dabbed happy tears.

It was the biggest social event of the year because there was nothing to do at home but sit on your front porch and listen to the whippoorwills. Only a few people had air conditioning and, if you could stand to be inside watching TV, the only things on were reruns of Car 54 Where Are You?, Gunsmoke and Dragnet.

Men didn't play golf after they got off work because it was a rich man's game. If any man at Shiloh owned a set of golf clubs, he kept that detail hidden away like beer in the back of his refrigerator.

Folks ate an early supper, scrubbed the dirt off their kids' necks and bare feet and put on their Sunday best, which wasn't that fancy. …

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