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Remember all-day singing and dinner on the grounds? - Jim Bell

As a teenager growing up in Mountain View, A small community just south of Atlanta, my favorite day was attending the annual "All-day singing and dinner on the grounds."

I was one of those guys with a bottomless stomach and I loved to eat the great cooking of the ladies of our church. It was all so-ooo good! There was a wide variety of food, served out on the grounds of the church under some large oak trees.

The men had, some time ago, built picnic tables and other long tables for the food to be set on -- and what a feast it was! There was fried chicken, baked chicken and chicken dumplings, roast beef with gravy, meatloaf and fried catfish. (Getting hungry?) There were all kinds of vegetables; cooked with a ham hock for seasoning; green beans, butter beans and peas, turnip greens, collards and fried okra. Yum, Yum! Casseroles were plentiful; macaroni and cheese, squash, and green bean casseroles, and many others. All this and we've not even mentioned desert! There was apple pie, peach pie and blackberry pie, banana pudding and cakes galore! There was ice tea and lemon aide to drink.

The schedule for the day was: Sunday school at 10 a.m., -- We met in classes according to age, and studied the Bible, guided by a good teacher. Then, preaching service began at 11, with some great singing and praising the Lord.

Then, our preacher would preach the Word in a fiery sermon he had prepared for us. Lunch, or dinner as we called it, would be ready at 12:30. Everyone would go out in the church yard, and after a blessing, we would line up and fill our plates as we walked along two sides of the tables. There was so much food that all could go back for seconds, if they could hold more. I went back several times!

After enjoying such a great feast and having wonderful fellowship, we would gather back in the auditorium for a great time of singing and praising the Lord. We would sing the great old hymns of our faith from hymnals. We did not sing any songs of the 7-11 variety, that is 7 phrases sung 11 times! Some of my favorites were: "There's a great day coming;" "There is a Name I love to hear;" "He hideth my soul," And "Sunshine in my soul."

Soloists might sing songs like "What if it were today?" and, of course, they would sing "Amazing Grace" with great energy. We would have trios and quartets to sing their favorite songs, and they were thoroughly enjoyed by all. This was such an enjoyable day. I wonder why we have gone away from days like this?

If you are reading this article, and have attended services like this one, I hope you have enjoyed thinking back to those wonderful days. If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing a day such as this, perhaps, we can plan one soon.

I hope every one reading this article loves the church as much as I do, and enjoys attending and participating in the praise and worship services. If you are not a member of a church, please know you are welcome to come to any one you want; you will be welcomed, and will meet a lot of friendly folks. I pray you will.