Friend and fellow author Alma Boykin brought back lots of memories (and lots of smiles) with her blog post this morning.

You Might Attend a Rural or Western Place of Worship if:

  • 2/3 of the deacons and the assistant minister are gone because someone’s fence went down and the cows got out.
  • several deacons and over half the soprano section “carry.”
  • the opening weekend of deer season is 1) Ladies Auxiliary Sunday and 2) a capella because the senior minister, associate, choir director, and organist have joined over half the choir and a large swath of the congregation out hunting.
  • the gents at the coffee pot are discussing whether Peter and James would have done better as fishermen had they used trolling motors instead of sails.

There’s more at the link.  Go read it for some more giggles.

Her list reminded me of my first church in this country, in the north central part of Louisiana.  I arrived there on the first Sunday in October to preach my first sermon, only to find most of the men wearing camouflage clothing, carrying shotguns on racks in their pickup trucks.  For a moment I was worried that their precautions might be in case I preached a bad sermon;  but I was swiftly reassured that no, this was the opening weekend of squirrel season, and that after service they’d all be hot on the trail of furry varmints.

Mirth ensued over several more hunting seasons.  I instituted a Sunday evening service for the benefit of hunters whom I otherwise wouldn’t have seen at church at all for two or three months during the various hunting seasons.  Not many came, but at least they had the option – and now and then I benefited to the tune of a haunch of venison, or something like that.  (The very dead snapping turtle solemnly presented to me by a triumphant six-year-old didn’t make it into my stewpot, I’m sorry to say!)

Then there was the time that over-enthusiastic hunters in the woods behind my rectory fired without thinking about where their bullet might end up.  They hit my rectory;  so, I stepped out of the back door and shot back into the woods with a .30-30 (aiming carefully at a tree trunk, of course).  The sheriff was a mite upset about that.

“Dammit, pastor, you cain’t do that!”

“Why not?  They shot at me first!  Look – there’s the bullet hole!”

“I – but – I mean – aww, hell!

They never did shoot at my rectory again, though . . .



  1. I am the head elder at my church, which means I have to make up the monthly schedule. It is somewhat woeful for me during deer season and when the bass-fishing tournament is going on and during high-school football. I wind up filling in a lot just because I don't participate in any of those things.

    Also, at least half of the men will be wearing jeans (that their wives/girlfriends ironed for them) and Western shirts. And boots. And they come in with hats, but take them off as soon as they step in the door.

    Also venison chili is a thing at church suppers.

  2. I go to church in West Virginia; the pastor carries and at times asks me if I'm carrying also. There are people disappointed that the church doesn't allow hunting since there are some nice deer on the property – I think it is due to city rules since the church is just barely in city limits.

  3. When I lived in Florida a friend belonged to a church where one of the assistant pastors conducted a "golfer's service" at 0500 to accommodate Sunday morning tee times. Rather well attended, I was told.

  4. I know at least the entire bass, tenor, and half of the sopranos in our choir either hunt or carry. In Connecticut no less! The man who takes the award though is one of our tenors: for forty plus years he has been deer hunting successfully…from a wheelchair.

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