Walking on the farm this afternoon, I am reminded why spring is my favorite time of year. I just love those bright, blue skies filled with fluffy, white clouds, coupled with beautiful rays of sunshine that have just a hint of heat kept at bay by the gentle spring breezes. I am mesmerized by the light green color of the new leaves on the pecan trees and the pretty pink blooms that will soon turn into peaches. I can't get enough of the sounds coming from the insects, birds and squirrels, all proclaiming “Wake up! It's time to shake off the cobwebs of the dark, cold Winter, and get ready for the beauty of what's in store.”
It's never been lost on me that Easter falls in the spring season. The transition from winter to spring is like a physical manifestation of that dark, cold day when Jesus gave his life for us on the cross, and the beautiful morning when he arose, showing us all what God has in store for us, if we just believe his promises. Spring is our promise that life goes on, and that God is in control. And this spring, we are working to bring new life to an old friend at Pearson Farm.
Hebron Church has been a part of the Zenith Community as far back as the mid 1800's. In 1870, the Ordinary of Crawford County was required to execute title of the Old Hebron Church to the trustees. It was to be used as a place of worship by members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A beautifully handwritten deed describes the land like this.... “5 acres beginning at the black jack tree in the east line of said lot where the old church stood and running west to the pine tree corner then north to the sweet gum corner then east with the meander of the branch to the line lot” ……. I would have loved to walk the property with the person who described the land that way! Sweet gum corner.... meander of the branch…. splendid words from someone who lived many generations ago. The deed also required that the premises be well kept, maintained, and disposed of as a place of divine worship.
The records don't indicate why, but for some reason, the deed wasn't recorded until 1883, when the Ordinary of Crawford County conferred with the original requirement and sold the property for the sum of one dollar to the trustees of Hebron Church. Even though the state didn't officially recognize the Hebron Church until the late 1870's records containing church roles have been found documenting membership as far back as 1857. These roles are also handwritten and show names and membership dates. They also record deaths, weddings and various reasons members were added or removed from the roles. Some were dismissed by letter, while others transferred to different churches. One member was listed as "supposed to be dead”, and another was "on probation". However, the most interesting notation was that of the member who was" expelled". Thankfully, he was "restored" before his passing in1870.
Hebron was a circuit church, meaning it shared a pastor with three other churches. Sunday School was held every Sunday morning, but preaching was only one Sunday per month, morning and evening. There seem to have been 3 sites for the church over the years. The original site being on Cummings road where a cemetery containing graves of members listed on the church roles can be found. The second was further down the road and housed the church until the late 30's, when the new church was built on Zenith Mill Road. This new Hebron Church was a huge part of life for the Pearson family and many others who lived in Zenith. Their spiritual foundation began and was fostered within its walls.
The church held services until sometime in the 60's when membership dwindled, and the decision was made to close the doors. The building stands on the farm today, however it has fallen into disrepair and become nothing more than a storage facility for the farm.
Lately, Mr. Al has been burdened that the church is being used to house “junk.” He strongly desires to return the church to a place of service. He feels like he owes it to Zenith, his home place. So…that's what we're doing, and we invite you to follow us on our journey to restore the Old Hebron Church, or as Mr. Al says, “the salvation of the Church.” It will be quite an undertaking; physically, financially and emotionally, but in the overwhelming moments we will fill ourselves with the words of a favorite hymn that was sung in the Old Hebron Church, Standing on the Promises of God……'Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God.'
~ Angela Young