Persons Church hosts 173rd anniversary

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cliff Francis, from left, Melissa Butler, Ellen Person, James E."Weedie" Person and Albert H Francis attend the annual Persons Church Reunion. SUBMITTED

DREWRYVILLE—Persons Church Reunion recently celebrated its 173rd anniversary.

Despite threatening skies, the faithful showed up from all over the state and the Carolinas.

The Rev. Michael Baugham led the morning service and pianist Barbara Edwards played traditional hymns.

The picnic on the grounds followed. Cliff Francis gave the prayer and blessed the food. He talked about Sunday school classes from the past and how he loved coming home.

The menu included southern fried chicken, homemade pies, rolls and iced tea.

Discussions focused on football games, politics, hurricanes and earthquakes in Virginia, family, and how pretty the church looked in spite of Hurricane Irene’s Aug. 27 visit.

Some senior members spoke about the days when the horse and buggies were tied up out front. There also was mention of Southampton County native, Gov. Colgate Darden, visiting the church in 1938. Darden and his wife gave a Bible to the church.

Four former World War veterans talked about their missions overseas. Col. Albert Francis spoke about a rescue mission to China and how he saved 40 lives by flying the men to safety. For his effort, Francis and his late wife, Ann, were invited to the White House and honored by President George W. Bush.

Chris Nein is getting ready to head to Haiti on a mission trip.

The church over the past year celebrated a wedding, supported a food mission to Haiti and was a coffee sponsor for Randolph-Macon College’s breakfast at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and recognized at the event. Randolph-Macon was founded in 1830, eight years before Persons Church. Six were in attendance on behalf of Persons at the breakfast, and Baugham said the prayer.

The church also was represented at the Spirit of Baseball clinic for children 9 to 13 years old to learn the fundamentals the game. Seventy youth were given a glove, shirt, lunch and instruction.

Marie Turner celebrated her 65th year with the church. Doris and Jack Miller continue with their steady guidance, and longtime members Rusty and Mary Ann Hancock keep up the property.

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s office called to congratulate the church on its anniversary. President Obama and The Queen of England also sent letters.

The reunion will be held the third Sunday in September in 2012.