Friday, August 19, 2011

Barney Creek

Last week a great and good friend that Frances and I met in Nairobi, Kenya came to spend time with my wife.  She is one of those kind of friends that feels a lot like family.  Since the girls wanted to shop, clean house (including painting one room) and cooking, I thought it best to get myself out of the way - so I headed for the mountains!  Ha.  The Cabin is my escape.  There is not much to do here, so I spend a good bit of time reading the good book (the Bible) and wandering through the mountains.  Occasionally I will help out with a church project or church "work day".  In a manner of speaking - this was not a work day but a day to play.  Day before yesterday, I went to Barney Creek to the site of the beginning of the Church of God with International Headquarters in Cleveland, Tennessee.  Today (August 19, 2011) we celebrate 125 years since the church was begun here in the mountains.  Now there are churches in more than 170 countries of the world.  To stand at this site and reflect on the humble beginnings of this group and realizing what great strides have been taken in those years is awesome.  Only 8 people with a determination to take the Bible as their only rule for faith and discipline banded together on August 19, 1886 and formed "The Christian Union" in the Grist Mill of Elder R.G. Spurling.  That was 125 years ago.  The church moved from here to the home of W.F. Bryant near Murphy, NC - and then on to Cleveland, TN.  Today there will be numerous vehicles in a caravan who will visit this site to pray and give thanks to God for the outpouring of the Spirit of the Holy on this small group of believers.  This site is only about 8 miles from me when I'm here at the Cabin.

Pastor Paul Fritts and Me
Paul Fritts is the pastor of the Tellico Plains, TN Church of God, where I teach a young adult Sunday School class.  He had asked me to come and help him make the Barney Creek site easier for visitors to access.  William Wright brought his Bobcat.  I met them at Hardees for lunch, then on to Coker Creek to the site on Barney Creek for a day of play.
This wooden sign covers his initials carved by R.G. Spurling
and the date when he built his home and Grist Mill

Your's truly, getting ready to play

William Wright, a third generation COG member
and Pastor Paul Fritts of the Tellico Plains Church

Here is a picture of an old fashioned Altar Call during
Revival at the Tellico Plains Church

Pastor Fritts rests on the stage after much praying

This is one of the youth choirs of the Tellico Plains Church
and the Future Of The Church of God
I pastored this church from March 1, 1961-February 1966 when my wife and two babies headed off to the missions field in Georgetown, Guyana, South America.  I was there when the current sanctuary was built and dedicated in November 1965.


jack69 said...

I like that BobCat,(In the wild too). Looks like you can ride it down.
Good thing to make the site more assessable. When Sherry and I visited it, I kept wondering where the building was situated way back then.
I will never forget The Tellico Plains Church and our stay there when You were a pastor and I thought I was a preacher. You were brave enough to ask me to preach. Then said AMEN and I forgot where I was. hahahaha. I believe that church had the most uneven floor around that pot bellied stove I have ever seen. But some wonderful folk. I will never forget that pastor and his wife, and the baby girl(Frankie) in the crib. I have a movie somewhere of you ironing your shirt for the night service.

Good memories you bring up.
Love you guys, sure glad we reconnected after so many years.

Fred Alton said...

Yeah, Jack! Talk about the memories of that ol floor. I laughed out loud when you reminded me. We too (us two) are looking forward to seeiny you in Florida.

Tabitha said...

Daddy, you look so happy behind the "wheel" there. I am so glad you had a great day of play. It amazes me to be a 4th generation PK and a 3rd generation clergy. Sometimes it is good to get the history lessons and make yourself remember that this is a lot bigger than me. Keep the posts coming. I love you!

Fred Alton said...

Hey Tabi, you are a fourth generation clergy. Don't forget my grandmother (Lula Lee Jones) was a clergy. That's the first, then G-pa was the 2nd, Me the 3rd, and you the 4th. Also - this may be of interest to you - G-pa's Daddy (John Brannen) was a Methodist Clergy.

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing "Coker Creek" and "Barney Creek" as the starting place of the Church of God, depending on what history I'm reading. Can you give some insight into these two places and how they relate to the Church of God?

Thank you (my e-mail address is