Sunday, January 18, 2009
On a recent trip I went through Geneva. Not Switzerland. Georgia. The Geneva surrounded by places like Junction City, Waverly Hall, Box Springs, and Talbotton. For those who are not so well versed in travel lore, Geneva, Georgia is not too far from Columbus. Geneva, Georgia is one of those places which has changed very little since I pastored in Talbotton over 30 years ago. Aside from a re-working of a traffic intersection and a new Post Office, it looks much like it did back then. Of course, for me the biggest difference is the absence of the Geneva United Methodist Church.
People who travel through the town today would never even know one used to be in that vacant area near the convenience store. When I was in Talbotton, folks gathered in the Geneva Methodist Church for worship as they had for decades upon decades. The changing times closed the church. Not enough people and not enough money probably drove the decision to shut it down. Later the actual church building was sold (to a Columbus doctor is what I heard) and moved to another place for another purpose.
It always bothers me when I drive by and see the church that is no longer there. I understand some traditions have rituals for de-consecrating holy space, but I have often wondered how that happens. How do you ignore the fact that holy work has been done on certain earthly spots even though there is no building to somehow preserve? I am not so sure about suddenly declaring holy space not holy any more. It bothers me. Too much happened on that spot of the earth. Maybe that is why we have markers. Not only is our agricultural land under attack by the cement and asphalt people, but our sacred spaces are in danger of disappearing as well.