There is a church in Georgia that soothes my soul.

My parents were married here.

I was baptized here.

My Pa Pa is buried here.

In between, I’ve attended plenty of Sunday services here, listening to the beautiful music Miss Carolyn could coax from the old organ, to the hushed footsteps on the faded runner dividing the pews, to the creak of the old beams supporting the small steeple.

Fair Haven United Methodist Church was erected in 1846, before Jenkins County even existed.  It was Burke County, back then.  My grandparents’ farm is just a mile or two from Fair Haven.  Sherman cut a wide swath through this area on his infamous “March to the Sea,” but did not burn Fair Haven.

His soldiers took only a drop leaf table, but changed their minds, and the table was reunited with the church.  It lost a small drawer during its journey, and that drawer is still missing today.

Though I’ve struggled with faith since my brother died, I always feel at peace within the walls of Fair Haven.  This tiny church is, to me, everything that church should be, and when I think of it, a smile always comes to my face.

As a result, Honeydew and I recently had Maggie Rose baptized at Fair Haven.  And it felt so good.

The minister did a lovely job, and seemed to delight in Maggie.  She liked him, too.

My grandma Betty and Sissy had beautifully decorated the church, with hydrangeas on the doors and objects we are thankful for: cotton, and the beloved picture of Pa Pa and Howard hugging on Christmas morning.

Maggie enjoyed her introduction to Fair Haven.

Maggie’s Big Mama and Sissy, for whom she is named, gave a lovely brunch after the baptism.

And it was a wonderful day.  Thanks to everyone who made it so special.

2011.  Glacier County Honey Co.  Photo credits also to Wanda Winn and Charlie Stone.  All Rights Reserved.