The Clarke Courier
Long a Clarke County tradition, this year's Bethel Annual Meeting and Church Service has several new features which should appeal to children and adults alike: Baby-sitting, pony rides, children's games and a sale of plants, produce, baked goods and preserved food. The silent auction, which last year brought in over $2,000 for restoration of the early 19th century former Baptist church, will be offered again this year. The usual covered dish lunch served in the church yard will follow the meeting, which is open to the public. Individuals are invited to bring a covered dish for the picnic and an item for the sale.
This year's featured speaker at the meeting will be former Washington Post political reporter, James R. Dickenson, who will talk about his newly published book, "Home on the Range: A Century on the High Plains." The book tells the story of the author's hometown, McDonald, Kan. (population 200), as a metaphor for the settlement of small farming towns in America's midwest and their threatened demise in the face of modern technology. Through interviews with friends and family and a treasury of childhood memories including many of his grandmother who "could hitch a team of horses, but she never mastered the automobile," Dickenson tells about people closely linked to the land through values, heritage and hard work, a culture he fears is fast disappearing in this country.
"It is the beautifully written story of a people and a place that is really about us all. It is a jewel that should be treasured and shared," says Jim Lehrer of the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour.
Bethel Church, which no longer has an active congregation, is maintained under the auspices of a board of directors for the cultural enrichment of the public, and holds three events each year, the annual meeting and religious service in Aug., a concert in the fall and a Christmas program in Dec. The church building and grounds are available to the public for weddings and cultural events.
This year's one hour annual meeting and church service takes place Sunday, Aug. 27, at 11 a.m. at Bethel Church in Clarke County. Take Rt. 625 south from Rt. 50, 8/10ths of a mile west of the Shenandoah River and follow the signs to the church building. For information, call 837-1729.
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