“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

Sunday was the annual, combined church service for Braddyville, Shambaugh, Coin, Blanchard and Northboro United Methodist Churches.

I was one of the many in attendance.

For the past several years, the members of those churches hold a joint service the last Sunday in August in Braddyville. It’s typically held outside, but not knowing if it was going to be 95 degrees or have 95,000 raindrops on the music, the decision was made to have it at Braddy Hall.

Members from the Elmo, Missouri, United Methodist Church were also in the seats as people from Elmo know some who attend one of the Page County churches. The more, the merrier, right?

Braddyville’s United Methodist Church may not have held all who arrived. Plus, it was easier to have it at the hall since there was a Thanksgiving Day-like catered lunch afterward. Braddy Hall makes it easier to serve food compared to the church.

Pastor Mark Lewis, who oversees all those churches except Elmo, had a sermon. There were plenty of songs by some invited guests and the congregation sang a couple as well.

I really didn’t get a count of the number of people there because I was too distracted, in a good way, talking to the people. It felt like a family reunion. It felt like a class reunion. It felt like county fair. Whatever the case, there is something comforting about being in a place where you know so many and can easily talk to most of them for at least 10 to 15 minutes. At least.

Rodney Stevens and I were again trying to find a date that works for both of us to watch the Kansas City Royals. The end of the regular season is coming soon.

People from Shambaugh were wondering about my children’s plans for the school year knowing the school year started Aug. 23.

Jerry Gomel from Northboro and I were talking about our speculations for how well growing hemp will be accepted by Iowa farmers and our favorite places in San Diego. He recently went there. (We both have relatives in San Diego.)

There was plenty for seconds – and not just the buffet lunch.

Maybe the combined service should be held more than once a year – another way to blend the people to make our spots on the map a bit stronger.

This weekend, Immanuel Lutheran Church north of Clarinda celebrates its 150th anniversary. That’s quite an honor knowing the church started some 23 years after Iowa became a state.

I’m sure those who attend their special service will have the same feel – sharing with others who they may have seen days earlier at a Clarinda game or ones they haven’t talked to in months.

Those moments are part of going to church – it’s good for the soul.

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