Roanoke Church of Christ

Month: June 2010


by my friend, Ben

I were haulin’ a load of timber outta Shelby Holler when I saw Miss Bonnie Pauley’s house. I did. It’d been years since I’d been up that way an’ I nigh’d forgotten Miss Bonnie. I did.

Miss Bonnie weren’t no “Miss”. We country folks just about call all women-folk “Miss.” Fact is, Miss Bonnie were married to Frank Pauley for most of her life before he died with what they said was tuberculosis of the bone. Most folks today say it were cancer, but back then they had their reasons for callin’ it tuberculosis. They did.

Years ago, Morgan County had one of them there TB sanatoriums. They did. They put it out on top of Tyler Mountain cause they said the air were all fresh-like and it were away from folks an’ the dirty big city air. They did. Then they brung folks from all around what had TB to Morgan County. They did. I’d heard Ma say lots of folks back then felt they was bringin’ big city diseases to the country, an’ they didn’t like it none.. They didn’t.

Miss Bonnie and Frank came along with the sanatorium. They did. They said Miss Bonnie were a special kinda nurse what understood how to care for them folks what had TB. They did. An’ I reckon Miss Bonnie were about the best there were, ceptin’ I never knowed her myself. She died long before I were born. She did. But her’n Frank’s ol’ house were still standin’ like some kinda fallin’ down monument. It were.

Trouble were, the way Ma told it, folks here an’ about saw Miss Bonnie as dangerous. They did. TB were killing lots of folks in the cities an’ folks here an’ about didn’t want to catch it. They didn’t. An’ they reckoned Miss Bonnie, workin’ with them folks what they brought out here what had TB would bring it to them. They did.

Mosta them doctors and nurses what worked at the TB hospital lived on the other side of the mountain, in Stanleyville. They did. So folks in Hickory Ridge didn’t see ‘em much cause they were Stanleyville’s problem. An’ back then ten miles or more were a long ways. It were.

But Miss Bonnie an’ Frank decided to live up Shelby Holler, a few miles outside a Hickory Ridge. They did. That bein’ so, they shopped for all their needs in town. They did.

Bein’s that Miss Bonnie and Frank were long gone before I were born, I learned Miss Bonnie’s story form Ma. I did. Pa’d taken her an’ me up Shelby Holler to see Maudy Pete, who were down in her back. She were. An’ on the way home I spotted this big ol’ house almost buried in Kudzu. When I asked whose it were, Ma told me about Miss Bonnie. She did.

Ma said whenever Miss Bonnie would come into town folks would move to the other side of the street an’ wouldn’t get within breathin’ distance of her. They did.

Ma said Miss Bonnie never had her hair done down at Lou Ann’s Beauty Shop like lots of other women did. An’ she cut Franks hair herself to keep him from bein’ told Jess Larson wouldn’t cut his hair in his barber shop. She did. Ma said they didn’t go to church, just to make things easier on folks. She did.

Frank worked at the sanatorium too. He were the head of maintenance, what meant he kept all the heat an’ plumbing in workin’ order. It did.

Now at this point in the story Pa filled in the things Ma were too humble to tell. He did. He said bein’s that we lived out aways, Ma didn’t know about Miss Bonnie until the Pauley’s had been there a few months. She didn’t. She mighta learned sooner, but Ma weren’t one to stand around an’ listen to the gossip when she were in town. She weren’t. But one day she saw folks crossin’ the street as this woman walked toward them. Mother’s pushed their kids to cross the street. They did. Ma wanted to know more about what was goin’ on. She did. So she asked. When she were told Bonnie might be one of them “carriers”, she went right to Doc Martin’s office and waited to see him. He told her there were no real danger of gettin’ TB from Miss Bonnie, cause she wore a mask at work, an’ they were learnin’ more an’ more about TB all the time. He said it were just that folks were scared. He did.

According to Pa, the next Sunday at the close of church, Ma stood up an’ said she had somethin’ to say. For a woman to talk out in church was perty unheard of. It were. She said that in the Bible it says that Jesus touched the lepers an weren’t afraid of helpin’ them. She did. She reckoned iffen Jesus could touch lepers an’ still have folks come around him, why were folks treatin’ Bonnie Pauley the way they were. She also told ‘em what Doc Martin said, She did. Then she said she were going out to see Frank an’ Miss Connie an invite them to church. She did. Even though Pa weren’t there, he said he were sure that church were as quiet as a tomb. He were..

Well, Ma did what she said, an’ the Pauley’s seemed real grateful. They did. But they declined her invitation to come to church. They did.

Knowin’ Ma it didn’t surprise me none when Pa said the next time she saw Miss Bonnie in town she went right up to her and walked with her. She did. Well, perty soon most of the folks in town found out what was goin’ on. They did. Pa said some even said bad things about Ma. They did. But she kept right on walkin’ with Miss Bonnie. She did.

Nothin’ changed much, but Ma made sure every time she saw Miss Bonnie she walked with her. One day she went in a store an’ asked iffen they were afraid of her since she was within breathin’ distance of Miss Bonnie. No one said a word, but they sold her what she wanted without backin’ away. They did.

It took Ma doin’ that for about a month or so an’ gradually folks opened up an’ found Frank an’ Miss Connie to be real good folks. They did.

I reckon fear of the unknown is about the most powerful thing on earth next to love. I do. Ma proved that over an’ over in the way she treated people an’ things. She did. An’ I reckon the world would be a whole lot better off iffen everyone did the same. I do.

CONCERNS: Debbie McRoy’s great-niece, Jewell Manhold, is having surgery on July 6. Her son, Ian has a friend, Michelle Yates, who has terminal cancer. Martha Foy’s dad is making slow progress. Also, a dear friend of the Foy’s has terminal cancer. Hospice has been suggested for Connie Crite’s father. She and Rich are there for Father’s Day. Pam Pierce is improving day by day. Joni Beach’s mother is about the same. Zona Fisher’s doctors are still working to regulate her blood pressure. Her brothers, Roger and Tim have cancer. Jen Wagner’s dad went home from the hospital. Melanie Almeder (cancer) Mike Breeding (heart problems) Polly Altice and her son, James. Isabell Simmons, Helen Nicklas, Julie (stroke) Teri Burks and Trixie Long. Roger Fisher’s nephew in Florida is still about the same. Barbara McCauley, Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder and the work of Health Talents and Bread For A Hungry World.

THE FOOD PANTRY: The food pantry has been restocked and already several families have benefited from it.

Monday: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: I Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: I Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5

Monday: I Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-10
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18

Today (June 20) is Super Sunday. It is also Father’s Day. Where could dad get a better meal than right here after this morning’s service? Plan to stay.

High Seas Adventure Vacation Bible School will be July 26-30. As far as we know it will have nothing to do with BP and the oil spill, but just good fun mixed with learning about God and Jesus.

As you can see, Pam and Tom Kirchner have transformed the foyer into a port of call, with ship and other nautical items.

Erma will be asking for barrels (adopted ones) as well as other items needed.
Registration can be done on the church web site,

About the web site: We are not sure if we were “hacked” or if there was a glitch in our server. It seems to be straightened out now, but if you have any trouble, let Keith know. Also, if you are not getting your bulletin via the web page and you were on the e-mailing list, let Keith know.

Thanks to Erma Williams, Wayne and Nathan Flora and Wayne Phlegar for taking the young folks to Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte, NC last week. The young folks had worked on several projects to raise money for the trip, as well as raising money we will be soon sending to a group in Haiti who is rebuilding after the earthquake.

We are getting closer to making the building comfortable on the extra hot days. A plan to cover the large front windows with see-through reflective covering is one possibility. The other is mini-blinds which could be opened or raised and lowered as needed. The temperature in the foyer is about ten degrees hotter than the auditorium. If you have input, see one of the steering committee. We are also getting closer to finding the right speed controls for the fans.


Jesus said those who follow his teaching will be known by their fruits. Also that a bad tree can’t bear good fruit, or vice versa. (Matt.7:16ff)

Christianity certainly has good roots. It is rooted in Jesus Christ. However, like the parable of the evil sower who came to the field at night and sowed bad seeds, its fruit became corrupted.

When? The fact is, the corruption  has always been a factor. If you read the book of James it was going on then. It had to do with who was of first priority in the congregation, and who was not. So James has to say, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

We spent a lot of time preaching on that “keeping oneself from being polluted by the world” without keeping it in the whole context of the letter. The world’s pollution is that which makes us arrogant, selfish, loose-tongued, prejudiced and willing to “murder” someone who isn’t like us. What this produced then and now, are church-goers who cause pain by their words and actions.

History records vividly the words and actions of those who called themselves Christians. We can’t escape the images of the inquisition, the killings and burnings of the Protestant Reformation, nor the persecution that drove people to America, and then the witch hunts in the New World. We could add the way we treated the African slaves, and all the things “Christians” opposed (and still do) that stood for equality and justice.

That legacy is unescapable. It stands before us every day. The word “Christian” sends a chill down most non-Christian’s backs. The bad roots and the bad fruit taints the very word “Christian”. If the “world” used the word “Pharisee” it would be next word to come to mind. “Pompous, judgmental, arrogant and self-righteous” are the words they use. This is compounded by the way most Christian efforts try to do what they believe they are to do to “save” the world.

The world knows our agenda. Our job is to convert them. Of course it is for their own good to “save” them. It’s a “Be baptized or I’ll drown you” attitude. So the world (the sinner) knows we are only interested in them so we cane save them. We are not interested in them just because they are a human being. They know we only see value in them if they convert. They know that all the good we may do and offer is hinged on if they will become like us. They know the attention we pay to them is not free. It is not a gift, given unconditionally. It has a price. Knowing that, why should we be surprised they don’t want anything to do with us? They know we will really only “love the sinner” if the sinner becomes a saint.

I asked Sunday why the notorious sinners in Jesus’ day were drawn to him and not to us. Neither were they drawn to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Why? Because they knew they only had value if they measured up to the accepted standards of what was considered right living. They knew they had to do something, to change, before they would be accepted. That’s where Jesus was different and somehow he got it across by the way he acted and treated them. He “welcomed” them to eat with him. He had only one agenda, to make sure they knew they were accepted and loved, without any conditions. He was not there to convert, but to show love. (Is love not the power that changes?) To show that he found their company not repulsive, but enjoyable. Making a convert was the last thing on his mind. The first thing was to give his unconditional acceptance as a friend. The most important thing is to know we are worth finding, just as lost as we are. “He’s the friend of sinners!”

Until we can do what Jesus did in the spirit of grace that Jesus gave, freely, with no condition of return, we will find the world wanting little to do with us. They will not become part of something that counts heads and has no heart. Something that leaves a rotten taste in their mouth.

When Christians are known as the people who go about doing good, (Acts 14:17) who paint and build houses, clean up after storms and work for all kind of good, without asking for anything, anything, in return, then Jesus will be seen in us and that will be all that is needed.

Martha Foy’s dad, Larry, is having some problems with pain in his muscles that is nearly immobilizing him. He is having tests. Connie Crites’ father’s condition is somewhat worse. A dear friend of Martha Foy’s has terminal cancer. Pam Pierce is still gaining strength for upcoming surgery. Joni Beach’s mother is doing as well as can be expected. Zona Fisher is still having blood pressure problems. Her brothers, Roger and Tim are dealing with cancer. Jen Wagner’s father is improving each day. Continue to pray for Melanie Almeder (treated for cancer) Mike Breeding (Ron Matney’s nephew) heart problems. Polly Altice and her son, James. Isabell Simmons. Helen Nicklas, Julie (stroke) Teri Burks and Trixie Long. Roger Fisher’s nephew (cancer), Barbara McCauley, Wilma and Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder and the work of Health Talents Int., Bread For A Hungry World and the relief efforts going on in all the countries damaged by earthquakes and storms.

Monday: John 1:35-51
Tuesday: Revelation 1:4-20
Wednesday: I Corinthians 6:7-20
Thursday: Luke 17:11-19
Friday: Philippians 2:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 98:1-9

Monday: Daniel 6:6-28
Tuesday: Mark 4:26-41
Wednesday: Psalm 136:1-26
Thursday: Matthew 7:1-6
Friday: Acts 23:11-35
Saturday: Psalm 135:1-21

Our sympathy is extended to Joann Wagner and all her family in the death of her mother, Jewell Racer. She died on Sunday, May 23, in Victoria, TX. She was 98 years old.

The funeral was held in Barbersville, WVA on Saturday, May 29.

Jo and all the family thank the congregation for the cards, kind words and the flowers which helped ease the pain of her death .

Former member Cozetta Mays died suddenly at her home in Cross Lanes WVA on Memorial Day, May 31. The funeral was in Charleston. Keith Wagner and Mike Ross officiated. There will be no official grave-side service here in Roanoke. However, the interment will be at 1:00 on Friday, June 4 at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens and the family would welcome those who want to drop by.

We can add a little award on our web site. We were “hacked”! We don’t know who or how, but it has been fixed, at least until we can acquire more security. In the mean time we can only imagine who might have decided we needed to be invaded

By the way, the mass e-mail mailing of the bulletin seems to be working well now. Check the web site on google at

Thanks to Erma Williams for teaching the training class for VBS High Seas Expedition Saturday, May 29. And thanks to those of you who came for the training.

We did not have camp this year due to several conflicts that left us with such a small number that we decided to regroup and do some other things. However, Camp Bethel has invited us to come back anytime we want. Perhaps next year we will be able to do it again. In the mean time we are planning a couple of things that will involve former campers. They will be announced.

Congratulations to Alice Blessing in coming in third in the Roanoke Star singing competition over the Memorial Day weekend. This was Alice’s first competition and she’s going to try again next year.