In the Appalachian region, church homecomings are annual events, steeped in years of time-honored tradition. Sadly, these services are becoming less frequent. Time goes too fast, people are too busy to stop and reflect on the ties that bind. Life at the fast pace of the 21st century doesn’t leave room to spend a summer afternoon sitting in the shade, reminiscing about the past and remembering loved ones who have passed away.
I’m thankful that the Rust Hollow community still takes time every year, on the third Sunday in June (Father’s Day), to gather together to pay respect to those who have gone on before and look ahead to the future in hopes that the next generation will continue the tradition known as June Meeting.
The day begins with a church service outdoors at Rust Cemetery, where hymns are sung, a message delivered, names of deceased loved ones read and their memories recollected. Every grave is decorated with flowers, and people come from near and far out of love, respect and tradition. Following the service, there is dinner on the grounds served at the picnic shelter of Faith Baptist Church, where family members enjoy the summer breeze while catching up on the past year’s events. (For many families, this is the one time of the year they see each other). The day ends with beautiful music filling the sanctuary of the church.
On June 16, the community will once again gather for the 94th time, and for a little while, time seems to be a little slower, and memories made seem to be sweeter.