church in the country

If you go:

Known for its disturbing friendliness and unsettling hospitality, Church in the Country is a small, cozy establishment nestled in the sprawling countryside of Knox County, Ohio.

Do:

Expect to stick out like a sore thumb: Everyone knows every one at Church in the Country. Everyone, that is, except for you. In fact, not only do they know everyone, but they know every one’s health ailments. And they often shout them out loud during prayer. But they do not yet know yours.

Fill out the guest card: Young and old, men and women, pastors and farmers, alike will flock to you during the greeting part of the service with blue Guest Cards in hand. They will welcome you publicly during announcements. They will get your names wrong about 50 percent of the time, but you won’t care because you think they feel like home.

Don’t:

Pack a lunch: Attendees at Church in the Country are guaranteed to be offered one, two, or even three Sunday lunches after worship service. Some of them are in the basement, but the majority of Sunday lunches are offered at the homes of church members about a half mile north of the railroad tracks in Hunt Station.

Skip Sunday lunch: Although it may be tempting to skip out on lunch at a complete stranger’s house, take a few extra laps around the country block to shake the nerves out. Chances are, you’ll soon find yourself hoovering around the crock pot with aunts, uncles, grandkids and great-grandkids. You’ll hold the baby while mom does dishes and you’ll crack jokes because dad probably should have his license revoked. You might even get a little jealous when Stacey is offered first pick of grandma’s good silver.

What I meant to say was that I have never felt so welcomed in a church, and subsequently at a stranger’s house, in all my life. This family provided the most easy, pleasant, relaxing atmosphere – and having two stangersat the table was completely normal to them. They do it every week, I guess. One of the grandkids road his bike over from Marion. Can you imagine doing something similar for strangers in your own life? I freak out when people I know are coming over.

Afterward, we get a call from the old man who brought his riding lawn mower over from the farm to let us borrow it for the night. We had mentioned in passing that our mower was broken and that the part would not arrive until Thursday.

What?!

What?!

I have not yet gotten over the whole experience.

How can people be so nice?

This is what I want.

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  • Rogue Agent

    Why Aunt Hilda – more tarps and bags of lime from the store again? …so where do they hide the bodies?