Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Parsonage

Though times are changing some, it can still be said that the parsonage is a permanent fixture in Methodism in the South Georgia area. For those out of the Methodist loop, the parsonage is the house provided by the local church for its appointed pastor. Having lived in one since the 8th grade, I have seen more than just a few. While a few have been near new and more have been well used, one stands out as the most unusual. The most unusual was not the one from which the snake had to be evicted before we could move in. Actually, we didn't move in that one. The snake seemed to be a signal that the church needed new housing. The most unusual was the one that was shared with an unseen friend.
The parsonage at Talbotton was a unique place. It was built in 1890, was on the Registry of Historical Places, and had been updated as much as possible without negating its place as a historical site. It had a great front porch, high ceilings, and a wide interior hallway down the middle which separated one side of the living area from the other. It still makes a striking presence on the corner upon which it was built over a century ago. When we went there in the mid '70's, we were told by a pastor and his wife had who lived there decades earlier that the house was haunted. At the time the pastor was my District Superintendent! Stories abounded about the reason. Some said there had at one time been a graveyard on the site of the house and a grave or two had been missed when they were moved to the new cemetery. Others declared an American Indian had been laid to rest where the house stood.
I wonder if stories still come from the Talbotton parsonage. Maybe preachers of our day have become too sophisticated to take the stories seriously, or maybe the unseen presence finally decided that no matter what, another Methodist preacher was still going to come. Maybe what happened to the unseen presence was what happens to a lot of church folks. Sometimes church folks get tired of waiting on the preacher to leave, so they go.

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