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Small Collinsville Church Has Big Heart

When it comes to churches in Alabama, it seems the largest denominations are the Baptists and Methodists.  Of course, there are of other churches ranging in all sizes.

For a young black woman who wasn’t raised partial to either church and experiencing mostly black churches growing up, I found myself drawn to nondenominational churches just because they seem to be more in line with my way of worship and thought. The smaller the church the better for me because I get to make a personal connection with a pastor who will know me every time I sit down in the middle of a pew.

After talking with a local member of the church and being invited to attend, I decided to visit the Collinsville Church of Christ. I plan on visiting a few more churches in town this summer.

The Church of Christ on 924 North Valley Ave. is in a small brick building that reminds you of a family home, with large white doors opening into the church. The manicured grass around the building and the lift of the stairs reminds me of the older church houses you see in movies and television. It’s a simple church, the simple that makes you feel like you’re home or in a nice country town where everyone cares for each other.

Pastor Jimmy Simmons welcomes the congregation of about 40 people with a heartfelt smile. You can tell that he’s passionate about the word of God and the people there listening to him.

With open minds, we all sit and listen to him preach the word from Ecclesiastes. The atmosphere around the room is one of understanding. The main themes for the sermon that Sunday were vanity and the talk of meaninglessness.

The church is small but as warm and welcoming as any church you could come across in Alabama. I began to make myself comfortable after shaking hands and introducing myself to most of the people in it.

They came to me after the end of their Bible study that started at 10 a.m. and began shaking my hand before I could even get up to greet them.

I was never a fan of big churches that had hundreds or thousands of members because I wanted a church where the pastor could know my name and see me as me and not just another face in the crowd.  

“They go back to the Bible for everything they do. They don’t have a creed, they believe in once saved, always saved, and they don’t have elders and deacons to run the church but a pastor,” said Myles Smith, a local member of the church since around 1954.

The Church of Christ doesn’t use a piano when they sing their songs.  Listening to them sing is like listening to the music of older Disney movies in which you could hear the choir of voices come together.

This church speaks from the Bible as it is and the warm smiles and handshakes that you receive when showing up and leaving shows me why everyone keeps coming back for more.

“They believe in loving their neighbors as themselves and helping others. Any time something comes up for a person in need we all come together and help elevate that need,” Smith said.

Tags: Collinsville

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