by BARBARA STOKES
Mark your calendar – June 5, 2022. We hope you are “coming home” for the Bishop Chapel Church and Cemetery Homecoming on Sunday, June 5, 2022. We are thrilled to be celebrating the 84th anniversary of Bishop Chapel Church. It is amazing to think about it being 84 years ago that a small group of people gathered together with the desire to plant a new church in the rural farm community adjacent to the small Cemetery, which has now served as the final resting place for family and friends for more than 155 years. Bishop Chapel Church was organized in 1936 when neighbors made the decision to build a church adjoining a burial ground which had been set aside by James Bishop as a final resting place for persons beginning as early as 1862. This effort to construct a church building in this particular spot was led by A.P. Fanning, George Bishop, Jack A. Bishop, and William Horace Bishop. Church records indicate that residents of the area contributed funds ranging from $1.00 to $10.00. Many gave their time as carpenters, and by March 23, 1937, Bishop Chapel Church was constituted. During the first year, forty-five persons joined the church. First year church expenses were $67.62 with $9.25 of that amount being spent for lamps. Homecoming 2022 will be a time of remembering and honoring those who made this small country church a special place in the Summertown Community.
Bishop Chapel Homecoming fills such a great time in our lives. It is a time and an occasion for remembering the wonderful memories of the past years, our heritage and to be grateful for the blessings of God in our lives. Homecoming gives us a time to look back at all the happy times and all the sad times. It is a time to honor our deceased friends and relatives. It is a time to rekindle fires and a time to reenergize our batteries. It is a time to s hare family legacies with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. Bishop Chapel Church and Cemetery is a place of generations. We want to remember our past, view the present, while at the same time, share our hope for the future with the off-spring of all those who have come before us. We will have an opportunity to recognize 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation descendants of family and friends of ancestors of the church and cemetery. If you have been unable to “make it home” for the last several homecomings, we hope that this will be the year you will gather the “clan”
and help keep our annual Homecoming alive and well. Do you remember those homecomings when all the pews were “packed” and extra chairs were needed? Even though many of our dear saints from past years are deceased let’s make this an occasion to fill the church again with the descendants of our loved ones.
Homecoming is a time to reflect. Bishop Chapel Cemetery is treasured landmark in the community. When the church building was completed in 1937, there were over fifty graves in the cemetery. The oldest identified grave in the cemetery is that of Allen Bishop who died April 10, 1862, and was a son of William Charles Bishop III, born in 1801 and died in 1876, and his wife, Sarah Coleman Bishop, born in 1802 and died in 1884.
Over 100 family groups are directly connected to William and Sarah Coleman Bishop. Many descendants of these extended families, along with their extended families, former church members, and former community residents are interred in the cemetery.
We hope you have an opportunity to spend time strolling through the cemetery. There are several graves which are not identified. We look forward to a time when we can identify these graves. There is a small number of graves for which we have not been able to locate descendants. We would appreciate your help in this identification. Families include: James W. Braswell Family, Broom Family, Bishop Brown Family, Ralph Lamar Coleman Family, Hutchens Family, and Luke Wethers Family. Graves for thirteen veterans have been identified. Flags will be available for marking Veterans’ Graves. Most likely, there are others who served our country that have not been identified and are not marked.
The Heritage Room will be open for everyone to enjoy memorabilia such as pictures, old church records and family histories. Paper and pens will be provided at this location for you to share short memories of your ties to the church and cemetery.
Services will begin in the Sanctuary with greetings and hymns around 10 a.m. Mr. Tommy Freeman and Mrs. Gail Ware will be leading the music portion of the worship service. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Adam Butler and Ms. Amber Robertson who will lead our worship service at 11 a.m. Worship will close with special recognition of the legacy of Bishop Chapel Church and Cemetery.
A delicious basket lunch will follow the morning worship service.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here