Featured Image

Why So Many Rural Churches?

In 1909 the US government proposed consolidating churches to one per thousand residents. Would churches meet the same fate as local schools and shops?

For decades, Bud Smith’s Store stood at the crossroads village of Nineveh, Pennsylvania. Behind the two-story white columns, whose formality offered a contrast to the surrounding fields and modest houses, a man and his wife earned a living and literally built a community by selling off parcels of land for new homes. Unlike the dollar stores that dot rural communities today, Bud and Thelma sold everything from work boots and guns to gas, meat, fresh produce, and penny candy. Located between my grandfather’s two farmsteads, it offered a convenient high school job for my uncle and other neighborhood kids. Thirty years later it provided my brother and me with a destination worth a four-mile bike ride...

By Charles E. Cotherman