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Summerfield Methodist homecoming set for May 5

Published 4:15pm Saturday, May 4, 2013

There’s something special about celebrating a homecoming. At its core a homecoming is a return to home or a welcoming back, and after nearly two centuries since its establishment in 1824, Summerfield Methodist Church will celebrate its annual homecoming Sunday, May 5, and welcome back descendants, familiy and friends of the area’s earliest inhabitants.

Caroline Majors, secretary of the Summerfield Memorial Association that now owns the church explained that the Methodist Church gave the association the facility after the congregation dwindle down to nothing.

“As the congregation died out and there were no more children there, they gave us the church,” Majors said, noting that because there is no congregation, the church only opens once a year for the annual homecoming. “So now it’s up to us to maintain the church, acquire the preacher [for the service] and upkeep the maintenance of the church.”

Maintaining the church grounds is a task she described as an “undertaking but a pleasure.” Majors said it is now up to a small group of people to clean the church, cut the shrubs, maintain the lawn, pick up limbs and make sure the space is free of dust, all in preparation for Sunday’s annual event.

“When something is only used once a year — when the people who all lived there were alive it was all fun for them, but now we’re their children, so now we’re realizing what they did. It’s sort of a wake up call for us, and it’s up to us now,” she said.

The purpose of the Summerfield Methodist Church annual homecoming is to celebrate the heritage of those who used to call the area that was once a mecca for agriculture and education home.

“We don’t have that world anymore, and you’ll see that they’re just coming to celebrate their heritage and to continue to honor those who came before them — in the Deep South we worship our ancestors,” Majors said with a laugh. “Now that everything is ours outright, we’re going to have to find a way to dig deep and make it work for us.”

Families like Majors’ have been attending the annual homecoming for as long as they can remember. Majors said her parents brought her each year to the homecoming, and before that, their parents brought them — though there was no regular congregation for them to be a part of.

For Sunday’s event there are families that will travel from across the state and even out of state, just for the sake of remembering where the came from, just for one afternoon.

“It’s one of those things — as long as we have people left who are willing to do it, we will keep going,” Majors said, noting the event is so special because not many areas know so much about their history.

During the homecoming there will be a role call of families, which will include a call for families from the area before 1827 and a call for relatives of the founding members of the church, and a new category added just this year will call on the continuing caretakers of the church.

Majors said Sunday she is simply looking forward to seeing the church at it’s best.

“I’ll see the before and after, and this is the first time that I haven’t just walked in and seen what someone else has done; I’ll be there to know the improvements,” she said. “And now I realize that I need to be going out there once a month to check on things — it’s not something that just happens.”

With an early estimation of nearly 100 families returning to Summerfield Methodist on Sunday, all bringing their families for the church service at 11 a.m. and picnic on the grove following the service, Summerfield will once again be brought to life, and a mecca of those who love the area and their heritage, even if it’s just for one afternoon.

The Rev. Henry Hudson, a native of Birmingham, who served as a rector in multiple churches in Mississippi for 16 years and now lives in New Orleans, serving on the Committee for the Diocese of Louisiana will present a sermon for all those who attend Sunday. Everyone is invited to attend.

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