Friday, July 22, 2016

My home church, West Jackson Baptist Church is being demolished

I don't post often about religion on my blog.  Religion is deeply personal and I know everyone celebrates their religious beliefs differently, and should be able to.  We live in a free country where anyone can practice whatever beliefs they want to, and not be persecuted.  I was moved to write about my religious upbringing or my experiences, because my home church where I grew up and spent many, many years is being auctioned off to be demolished, and i have so many emotions about this.  I am mainly going to  post pictures taken by Mr. Roy White, one of my old coaches and sunday school teachers, so all picture credits go to him.

This is West Jackson Baptist Church.  I remember taking pictures on those steps for many vacation bible schools and so many church activities.  I remember thinking our church was so huge, yet now it looks so small.
I guess it has been used for many things since our home church moved, but I will always remember how awesome this playground was  and how awesome not only sunday school was in this building, but also preschool.  I can remember many a time sitting at one of those windows, looking out and hoping to get to go outside and play soon.  I can also remember looking out those windows and waiting for my mom to come and pick me up.
The breezeway between buildings.  SO many memories of my granddaddy here.  This was his and my grandma's home church as well.  I can remember many days being dropped off here and hanging out in the shade, while Granddaddy parked the car.  I can remember the greeters that would be holding the doors, and one of them would always give me a mint or a piece of candy.  I can also remember swimming in our little plastic pools in this parking lot for daycare as well as tie dying t shirts for vacation bible school.
Our gym.  I always thought we were so cool, because we had a gym where you could not only play basketball, but you could rent roller skates and skate to cheesy 80s music.  Many lock ins here and many saturdays spent playing league basketball with my granddaddy watching and cheering.  My day camp and afternoon after school that I did for years in the summer and post school was in this building.   I remember eating jello pudding pops outside in the shade or throwing water balloons on the lawn.  One of my favorite memories was the fact that for a quarter, you could fill up a small paper cup with soda.  We had folders with all of names on them that had important information for our parents, and those folders lived next to the soda machine.  My granddaddy always had a quarter for me and I loved mixing those sodas (yuck) and making what we called a "suicide".
This was the entryway I would use once I started driving to go to sunday school.  I parked in a lot on the other side of the playground when I was old enough to drive my own vehicle.  I also fondly remember this entry way, because we would use those upper rooms for choir practice on wednesday nights.  Granddaddy would always take me out to eat post choir practice.  We always were rehearsing for some big program we would do for the various holidays.  I can remember many christmas programs as I was a lion, a japanese character, and a doll.  Mom always made my costumes by hand and then we usually recycled them for halloween.
The playground seemed so huge when I was a kid.  We had metal playground equipment that was searing hot when the sun was out, and could probably slice you open with the sharp edges and give you tetanus.  There was no soft landings, you either had dirt or pea gravel.  I remember watching my friend fall off of the monkey bars and breaking his arm.  I also remember many hours of swinging and laughing and singing.  It was fenced at one time and always felt safe and wonderful.
The chapel.  My only real memory of being in the chapel was going there for vacation bible school activities.  I remember it seemed so spartan as compared to the big sanctuary.
The library entrance.   As a kid, I was an AVID reader so many days spent in our tiny library.  I remember I LOVED our little librarian.  
Our sanctuary, with the middle pews being torn out.  I so love those beautiful light fixtures and those stained glass windows.  Mom said the windows have been removed, but I would have paid much money for a piece of them.  I also have heard those pews might be for sale.  I have no clue what I would do with one, but I would love to have one.  Again, so many great sermons taught in this sanctuary.  I remember being called to Christ and going before my church and making my profession of faith with my best church friend Carrie by my side.  I remember many mornings sat in the middle front rows with my friends, whispering and passing notes and being called out by Dr. Taylor for not paying attention. I remember so many sermons being preached and thinking, how does he know my heart?  How does he know what I am feeling and needed to be told that day?  SO many great songs sung, so many great speakers and guest preachers.  

I was baptised in that chamber.  I think about that day every day, and thank the Lord that he came into my heart and is with me every single day, every step of the way.
I always thought our church was swanky, because it had a balcony.  If you were super good, you got to go upstairs and sit there, without your parents!
Many sundays and wednesday nights sitting in these pews with either my friends, my mom or my granddaddy and grandma.  I can remember nudging grand daddy to wake up and singing hymnals with my grandma. I can remember thinking, how does she know every word to every song?  She hardly ever even looked at her hymnal.  I can remember as churches moved to more conventional services, missing those great hymns.  I can remember Grandma taking paper and marking all of the hymnals that we were going to sing that day, based on the program that the deacons handed out as we came into the sanctuary.  I thought that was so organized!  
Even though I haven't been back to see my church in a really long time, these pictures when posted brought out so many memories and so many tears.  I hate to see it be torn down, but I know it is a sign of the times.  I had some the greatest moments of my life in these buildings.  So many children's churches on the steps up to the pulpit.  So many White Christmases where the whole church wrapped donations up in white paper and filed down to put them under the giant Christmas tree.  It has been so fun going down memory lane, but so emotional.   You know a building, a place has so much meaning when you haven't seen it for years yet it brings you to major tears to know it will be gone soon.  Good bye West Jackson Baptist Church and all of the great memories you hold.  

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