Sunday services will be held as normal on Sunday, April 13th, at Clyde’s Chapel Southern Methodist Church between Batesburg-Leesville and Saluda. As the church works towards a new worship area, the members will move forward after an attack by vandals.
Why does the service at Clyde’s Chapel concern me? It is simple. My roots run deep at that little country church. My great uncle Pete, who was killed in World War II in Germany, is buried there. My grandparents on my father’s side will be buried there. My mother and father were married in that church. Both my father and grandfather served in that church in leadership capacities.
Last weekend, Clyde’s Chapel became the latest of Southern churches, both black and white dominated, to become a victim in the shift of culture that has occurred. It was once thought unthinkable to attack or vandalize a church. Even the rough men who met along the side of the Saluda River to drink and play cards obeyed a simple code. They did not mess with anyone’s mother and they did not mess with a church. There was a time when even the roughest and the meanest among us left mama and the church alone.
Not anymore. It started in the 1990s, when some folks decided to mess with various churches, mostly predominantly black. It continues to this day. There is simply no respect in the younger culture for the churches and no fear of retribution. Two young men are suspected of vandalizing rural Clyde’s Chapel. The pastor and congregation offer forgiveness, and perhaps we all should.
But, we can not ignore what such an act shows about how our culture has shifted. Here, in the heart of the South, where even the hardest of sinners once held some reverence for a church and for mama, so to speak, churches have become fair game for young people to act out in. It is a sign of how honor has lost it is place in our times. It is a shame, not only for the young people who vandalized Clyde’s Chapel, but for all of us. We were once better people, even the worst among us.