Mar 04


At Providence United Methodist Church
Farmer Church Service MAR15-007
On Sunday, March 1, 2015, a special “Blessing of the Sowing” worship service was held at Providence UMC. Pastor Terry Martin used Matthew 13 as the theme. The idea stemmed from the “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony used in areas of South Carolina where captains and boats are blessed and prayers are made for bountiful harvests in the coastal waters of the state.
Farming has always been the major income producing industry of Providence Community, located seven miles west of Holly Hill. Rev. Martin’s idea of having this service of blessing was accepted with enthusiasm by those who continue to work with the soil. These farmers brought seed, flats of plants ready to plant, and farm machinery to church on March 1 for blessing. Miniature tractors also lined the altar rail.
Following the singing of the last hymn, Bringing in the Sheaves, the congregation assembled outside where tractors and various other pieces of farm equipment were parked on the church ground. Church families involved in the farming industry stood in front of this equipment which represented millions of dollars invested in this field. Using an evergreen branch and the church baptismal basin, Rev. Martin offered prayers and blessings for those who work in this field as well as for many others who have jobs and income related to this occupation. This was an opportunity to remember the need and reality of God’s blessings in every avenue of life, because the farmers have seen both profitable years and years of devastating losses.
A visiting couple, traveling from Boston to Florida to seek warmer weather, stopped to worship at Providence on that Sunday. They were in awe of the fact that a service would be dedicated to those whose work is so closely related to their faith and said it was one of the most moving services they had ever witnessed.
In addition to being primarily a farming community, the families here have sent children into many other fields. These include banking, construction, education, industries, insurance, journalism, legal, management, medical and sales.
Life in Providence is centered around this Methodist church which was established by circuit riding preachers in the 1700’s. The first church building was constructed around 1810. Research shows that Providence UMC has always paid 100% of the conference apportionments for as far back as records exist.