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The Spiker Gazette
Oxford, WV                                                       Volume 3             Issue 11                                         November 17, 2009

South Fork Baptist Church - Rules of Decorum
Written by:  Bobbi Spiker-Conley

     Although I do not remember my first church service, I am guessing it was just days after my birth.  I was raised in the church, attending services twice on Sundays and once on Wednesdays.  Many of the remaining days of the week were spent attending church-related activities.  My father insisted there was no excuse for missing a service and demanded we always arrive on time (as he often said, "It's better to arrive a half hour early than show up even one minute late.")

     He was also strict about our behavior in church.  We must dress properly, refrain from making noise or causing a distraction, must pay attention, remain alert (and awake)...well, let's just say that there were many rules of good conduct by which we were admonished to abide.  One "look" from Daddy was all it took to make certain we were in our best form.

     But he may have missed some of our antics (or perhaps he chose to overlook them from time to time.)  Sometimes I'd lay down in the pew.  And sometimes I'd fall asleep.  Sometimes we'd whisper and giggle with our friends, stopping only when an adult turned around and scowled.  And I am loathe to admit it but sometimes we'd make fun of the elderly lady with the blue hair.

     So it is with some amusement and much enlightenment that I finished reading a booklet about the South Fork Baptist Church written by Mildred "Millie" Wilson Rule.  By reviewing the Books of Minutes from the church's archives, she relates some of the church's "Rules of Decorum".  These rules, she noted, were rigidly enforced by the pastor, the deacons and other members of the association. 

     Millie writes, "We are told that, in the early church, discipline was strict and the church was concerned about the life and conduct of its members...Besides parental discipline, the church members had ways of disciplining each other."  She later adds, "There is evidence that occasionally in their zeal for 'warning, rebuking, and admonishing' they forgot about 'walking together in brotherly love'".

     My father had attended that church.  Could it be that this is where he learned his strict code of conduct?  Could it be that he received "the look" from his own father when, as a lad, Dad's behavior was less than acceptable?  Could it be that he was practicing, and passing down to his family, the rules Millie transcribed in her book which included: 

     “Any member failing to attend three church meetings in succession will be required to give satisfaction to the church for their absence.”

(continued at right)    

Layout of South Fork Church by Melanie Fouse

(continued from left)      

     “In-as-much as order and decency becomes the House of God no whispering or laughing in the time of a speech, no loitering or lying down in time of a session will be expected.” 

     “No member shall cast any reflections or make remarks on the slips, failures, or imperfections of any other member on pain of the censure of the church.” 

     If my father was under such scrutiny, it would certainly explain a lot.  It may also be the reason why Daddy overlooked some of my lesser moments.  I could have been one of those members that was "censured and excluded" for breaking the rules.  While I had never missed three church meetings in a row, I would have certainly attempted to explain away any other perceived infractions.  To my father:  "I wasn't sleeping.  I was just resting my eyes."  And to the elderly lady:  "Blue is definitely your color."


     You can read the entire transcript of Mildred Rule's book, "The South Fork Baptist Church - A History", by clicking here.  Her transcription of the Books of Minutes mentions topics such as the church's earliest history, its organization and transformation through the years, names of pastors and members, the introduction of Sunday School, the cemetery and, of course, the "Rules of Decorum".



  Submitted by Bobbi Spiker-Conley -- It is with much sadness that we share the news that one of our extended family members, Jenny Summer, has passed away.  The following announcement was taken from the McCullough-Rogers & Raiguel Funeral Homes website

Genevieve "Jenny" Stout Summers, 84, of Harrisville, WV, departed this life on Wednesday, October 28, 2009, at Harrisville, WV.

Jenny was born July 3, 1925 in Columbus, OH, a daughter to the late Loutellus M. and Ann Vandiver Stout. Jenny worked as a registered nurse in Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, and in Florida. She served as Public Health Nurse in Ritchie County, WV for twenty years.

In her retirement she was involved with many civic and charitable organizations including, Habitat for Humanity, the Ritchie County Ministerial Association, Community Resources, Inc., and Family Resource Network. She was a graduate of Doddridge County High School and the Sibley Memorial Hospital School of Nursing class of 1945. She was a faithful Christian and a member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Harrisville, WV, and enjoyed people, reading, church activities, gardening, and traveling with friends. 

She is survived by her three children; Patrice Ann "Sissie" Summers and husband, David Murphy, St. Albans, WV, Hayward P. "Rusty" Summers, Jr. and wife, Norri, West Bloomfield, MI, and Jonathan W. Summers and wife, Sara, Harrisville, WV; brother, Loutellus M. Stout and his wife Joanne, grandchildren, Hayward Paul Summers, Battle Creek, MI, Brittany S. Summers, Frisco, TX, and Sam Summers, Harrisville, WV, a nephew David Stout of FL and Karen Stepehnson of St. Albans. 

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Hayward P. Summers, and brothers, Porter and Sherman Stout. 

Funeral Services will be 11AM, Saturday, October 31, 2009, from the Raiguel Funeral Home, Harrisville, WV with the Rev. John Frum officiating. Interment will follow in the Harrisville IOOF Cemetery. Friends may call the funeral home from 4-8PM, Friday, October 30, 2009, and after 9AM on Saturday. 

The family would ask that in lieu of flowers donations be made to St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Faith in Action, 320 E. Main Street, Harrisville, WV, 26362.


Dates to Remember

November 4ANNIVERSARY - Evan & Jennifer Thrush
November 5BIRTHDAY - Liam Thrush
November 7BIRTHDAY - Helen McCumber
November 9BIRTHDAY - Cassidy Fouse
November 11BIRTHDAY - Christopher Chambers
November 15BIRTHDAY - Angie Benson
November 19BIRTHDAY - Clayton Yeager
November 25BIRTHDAY - John Spiker
November 25BIRTHDAY - Thomas Gifford
November 28BIRTHDAY - Brock Stotts
December 4BIRTHDAY - Joan Cerney
December 8BIRTHDAY - Morgan Hurst
December 9BIRTHDAY - Caden Hess
December 20BIRTHDAY - Gary Conley
December 20BIRTHDAY - Keri Hurst
December 21BIRTHDAY - Mykayla Yeager
December 22BIRTHDAY - Mike Spiker
December 23BIRTHDAY - Melinda Chambers