Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Lillye Younger

Dinner on the ground after church services once was a widespread part of the American scene. In at least one county in Tennessee, the tradition remains proudly alive. That of Decatur.

Despite the fact that this tradition is vanishing from the American scene, at Mt. Nebo United Methodist Church near Bath Springs, Tennessee it is too deeply a part of their lives. They refuse to let it fade into the past.

In cars and on foot, they arrived at the church Sunday June 25th at 10:30 a.m. for the annual "Homecoming." The women hurried to the basement to park their baskets filled with delicious food, which was to be served at the noon hour. The only change in this age-old custom is that dinner was served from long tables, extending the length of the room almost, instead of spread on the ground.

Spiraling the program was the beautiful strains from the tips of the fingers of Mary Lou McClure at the piano. Jerri and Terri Tuten served as candle acolytes. The pastor, Rev. Charles White welcomed the house, filled to over-flowing. Musical numbers were rendered by the McClure Singers and a Sunday School Class group.

One of the highlights of the occasion was when Mr. R. D. Pevahouse of Decaturville spoke of his experiences of the yesteryears in the little white church and explained that it was in this church that he accepted Christ as his Savior and taught a Sunday School Class.

Mrs. Lillye Younger, Decatur County Historian, gave a short history of the church. She explained that a church building of logs was erected here shortly after Decatur became a County in 1845 and that it stemmed from a Brush Arbor revival held by a Circuit Rider.

In 1885 a log bailing was replaced by a box building and in 1958 the present building was erected. The church first had a two-fold purpose, It served as a church-school combination until Lancaster school was erected at Three-Way.

The parsonage, adjoining the church on a near-by lot, was sold and a new parsonage has been constructed on the land donated by Mr. Bedford Keeton at Keeton Springs.

Mrs. Younger listed a number of early pastors who served the church here.

Included among the number were Rev. Chappell, who served in 1899, Rev. C. H. Lafferty, Rev. J. J. Maynard, Rev. K. G. Barnes, Rev. W. E. Gibson, Rev. R. J. Crider who served this circuit from 1947 until 1952 and Rev. David Haley from 1963 until 1967.

Rev. B. J. Crider and Rev. David Haley were both promised for the "Homecoming". Rev. Crider was in charge of the Communion Service and Rev. Haley gave the benediction following the sermon by the present pastor, Rev. Charles White.

Rev. White spoke to the congregation on the subject of "Faith" and brought out examples from the lives of Biblical characters such as Abraham and Moses. He said that according to statistics only 40% of church members attend service regularly.

Mrs. Maude Tuten was the oldest church member and Frank Tuten was the newest church member. Both were recognized by the pastor.

Rev. Charles White has been serving as pastor of the church since 1967, commuting from Atwood until the new parsonage was built in 1971.

Following the morning service, tables groaning with weight, awaited hungry persons until they filed pass, filling their plates to capacity. Rev. Crider gave the Invocation.

A period of fellowship prevailed in the afternoon, mixed with movie and picture taking. Many persons living away returned to the homecoming. One car license bore New York State.

Those attending from Parsons were Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Lancaster, Mr. and Mrs. Bud Tuten, Mrs. Nancy Jones, Cliff, Beth and Laura Lee, Mrs. Parce Collett, Mrs. Paul White, Mrs. Sue Scott, Mr. Jess R. Lancaster and Mrs. Lillye Younger.

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