By Butch Weir, Editor, The Poplarville Democrat
The Picayune Item
From the ashes of the old the new is rising. The Barn Church on U.S. Highway 11, which burned down early on May 21, is now being rebuilt.
The 32-year-old barn that housed the church behind the home of Robin and Buddy Moody was the site of an older barn, he said. The church itself was formed about eight years ago.
Buddy Moody said while the new building is being built the congregation is meeting under the spread of a large oak tree between the Moody’s house and the construction site. Pews and chairs saved from the fire are arranged in a semi-circle under the tree.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate services are in an adjacent, smaller building which houses the coffee room area, storage rooms and restrooms, Moody said. A service has also been held under the covered arena at the fairgrounds here.
Most of interior of the new building will comprise a large worship area, open on a side and one end, Moody said. At the other end will be an enclosed room for private prayer and Bible study. An adjacent room will hold Moody’s workroom for his farm. A roof covers the entire structure. He said the barn that burned has a similar layout.
“That’s what everybody liked about this,” Moody said. “Basically you just walk in there. It kind of lends itself to that open-door policy type.” He said some members back their trucks up to the open end, let the tailgates down and sit there during the service.
If the weather turns chilly he said they bring out stand-up heaters and in the summer, fans. “They wear their jackets and we have had some guys several different times they would build a fire right out here and put their chairs around.”
“We’ve been meeting that way for so long … they like that.”
Facing the open side of the church building is a separate building with storage, a coffee room for fellowship, restrooms, and a room for the church’s food outreach. The children have Sunday school taught by Kay Howard in a small adjacent building that has heat and air conditioning, Moody said.
The new church building has all the proper permits for construction, Moody said, and electrical and plumbing will be built to code.
The church started from a group of five or six people “basically on a bale of hay” as a Bible study. As more people came they moved into the larger barn space, Moody said.
When asked if the church was Baptist-oriented or other denomination Moody finally said, “We don’t even say non-denominational because that kind of puts a label on it.”
“I would say it’s just a body of Believers…” he said. “It would probably be like a Baptist Church to some people. All the other churches are very cooperative with us and understand and support us.”
“It’s worked good (having the church here) because I love it being here and it started here,” Moody said, “and they want it to be kind of a farm setting … Its outside and you can hear the birds and, it’s a different concept and they (the people who attend) like that.”
Two Bible study groups – one geared to new believers and the other for those who have a better understanding of scripture – meet during the week. Every other Thursday night the church participates in a rodeo-like meeting at the fairgrounds arena that starts with a devotional. People will bring their horses and kids – whether they can ride or not – get a chance to ride before more seasoned riders come out.
Once a month the church provides food for those in need, although Moody said people can come any time there is a need. He estimates about 35 families are being supplied at present and Brother’s Keepers Ministries and other similar groups help with food.
The Barn Church has a 501-3C status and Bro. Jeff Easterling, who is ordained as a Baptist minister, is its full-time pastor, he said, and estimated Sunday services average 75 to 150 attendance. Services are at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
“We have some of the most unbelievable worship services, and singing and praising the Lord. To answer your question about the Baptist or anything else, I’d say we’re just a body of believers that meet here … kind of like the early church.”