ROME — A sumptuous spread of food stretched 40 yards. And, all the delicacies you might expect from a church full of Paula Deens was systematically arranged for the church homecoming.
The dessert table was sufficiently arrayed with such a plethora of cakes, pies, and sweet creations that a mere glance at the mouthwatering sweets would make a diabetic go into a sudden catatonic shock. People were profusely praising the culinary artistry of the Floyd County women contributing to the succulent fares on display.
Certainly no homecoming would be complete without an ample supply of fried chicken and Enon Baptist Church had plenty for their 175th anniversary homecoming on Sunday, Aug. 21. In fact, Enon’s pastor Ken Hinkley explained why fried chicken is so prevalent at Baptist eatin’ meetings.
Hallmarks of a homecoming
“Ever since the cock crowed to expose Peter’s denial of the Lord,” Hinkley stated, “Baptists have been trying to rid the world of chickens to eliminate the call of the bird that pricked Peter’s guilty conscience.”
There is nothing quite like a good ole’ Baptist church homecoming, featuring convivial fellowship, Gospel singing, moments of reminiscence, fervent preaching, and country cooking.
An extremely inspiring service of worship preceded the homecoming gathering. Hinkley and Marshall Plants, minister of music, planned a wonderful service filled with challenges, inspiration, and a celebratory atmosphere.
Ruth Jones, age 102, received a plaque commemorating her 75th year as a member of the church. She became a part of the Enon congregation in August 1941 on the occasion of the church’s 100th anniversary. Mrs. Jones’ son, Robert M. Jones, sat on the front row of the church with his mother and both were enthusiastically engaged in the service of worship and praise that lasted from 10 a.m. to past noon.
The choir sang “God so Loved the World” and “Sing Joy” under the direction of Plants. Beth Hackney and Plants teamed up to sing a beautiful rendition of “I’ve Just Seen Jesus.”
However, the special musical guests for the day were Jerry and Lil’ Jan Buckner-Goff, both of whom are members of the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Their music produced loud “amens” and rounds of applause.
Rodney Autry, who was licensed and ordained by the Enon church and is currently pastor of Union Baptist Church in Gloucester, VA, gave a stirring testimony of a significant movement of God in a church he served in the Washington, D.C. area.
Enon had a grand attendance for the special occasion and the church was recognized on their anniversary with a plaque presented in behalf of Dr. J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
While the church is relatively small in numbers they do some things in a big way. For example, they give almost 15 percent of their undesignated gifts to the Cooperative Program and make generous gifts to other convention-related mission offerings.
Few churches have a life span that continues for as long as 175 years. Enon was established when John Tyler was president of the United States and there were only 26 states in the Union.
The church began with a gathering of at least six people as recorded in the minutes of the church clerk dated Aug. 20, 1941. During the Civil War the minutes indicate that there were “no church conferences during the summer of 1864 in consequence of the northern army being among us.”
During the Civil War the minutes record one occasion when the church gave $20,00 to the Baptist Association for Indian missions. Through the years the church called pastors on 65 occasions. Some were called to serve for more than one tenure.
Pastor Ken Hinkley exclaimed, “One hundred and seventy-five years is a remarkable accomplishment to be proud of. I am glad that I have had an opportunity to share the last three of these years with the people of Enon as their pastor.”