February 29, 2012: Through the centuries and right up to current times, there have been religious wars. Countries and towns divided by the religious of residents. What brought this to mind? An observation of a Shinnston tradition today is what.
In the book, The History of the City of Shinnston by Lena Poling Golden, it is documented that in the early days of Shinnston all the various congregations used one building for their services prior to building their own churches. They did not have “religious wars” then nor now.
Today is the second Wednesday of Lent. Each year either the First United Methodist or the First Baptist Church (located side by side in Downtown Shinnston) hosts the Lenten Services due to their central location and ample parking. The Community Good Friday Service is held in a different church each year. For Lent 2012, the First Baptist Church is host.
Rev. Bart Wheeler, a Nazarene minister who lives in Shinnston but pastors a church in New Martinsville, WV has the Bible Study in the Library of the Baptist Church at 11:00 AM every week. Ash Wednesday, Pastor Kevin Nuzum of the First Baptist Church did the Noon Lenten Service and his congregation provided the crock pots of soups for the soup & cracker lunch after the Service. Today, the second week of Lent Father Karl Wohinc of St. Ann’s Catholic Church did the Service and the soups were provided by his congregation. Next week, Rev. Tammy Phillips, a Methodist minister will do the Service. There is a different minister every week with citizens of Shinnston and surrounding area attending the Service every week. Good Friday, all will gather at Family Life Fellowship Church in Enterprise, WV.
As President of the Shinnston Area Council of Churches (no one else will take the job), it is my duty to get the schedule filled. Being relatively new to Shinnston at the time and never being involved with the Council prior to saying OK to being President, I scheduled Father Karl for the THIRD WEEK of Lent. He did it, BUT he let me know he ALWAYS does the second week – so he can correct what was said the week before. (It is a funny for those who do not know Father Karl.) I have never made that mistake again!
You may ask, what the heck does this have to do with a Bed & Breakfast? What it has to do with is one of the many reasons I am so proud of my City of Shinnston, West Virginia! It is the only City in West Virginia with a Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, now in its 12thyear, which in itself is remarkable, but to illustrate the uniqueness of this Chapel let me tell you the Saturday night schedule I am aware of.
At 9:30 PM the city’s Optometrist (a Methodist) will relieve the person who has been keeping vigil since 8:00 PM. He will be there until 11:00 when this Presbyterian relieves him. At Midnight a Catholic will relive me and keep the vigil until 2:00 AM. There are also Baptists and several other religions keeping the vigil for something we in Shinnston consider too important to let it go – the hours WILL be filled. Come visit our Chapel – it is a place to pray, meditate or just sit down and say, “Ahhhhhhhh.” There may be religious wars elsewhere, but not here in Shinnston.