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Historic Albany church set to host hymn sing this Sunday

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 18, 2011
— Get out your hankies and warm up your voice.

It’s time for the Gap Church annual hymn sing.


On Sunday, the 155 year-old Baptist church will once again be filled with music.


Visitors should expect to hear—and sing—hymns such as “Blessed Assurance,” “That Old Rugged Cross” and other emotionally powerful classics.


“The church has such wonderful acoustics,” said Jane Copus, secretary/treasurer of the Gap Church and Cemetery Association. “It can give you chills.”


And it’s difficult to get through two verses of one of those traditional hymns without shedding tears—especially when you’re singing in such a beautiful setting.


Tucked into the gently rolling hills of Green County, the tiny church was home to one of the area’s earliest Baptist congregations.


The church was formed in 1850, but it wasn’t until 1856 that the congregation’s trustees agreed to build a “house 32 feet wide and 44 feet long without a steeple,” according to Gazette archives.


Those early Baptists were a tough and faithful bunch.


“Not infrequently complaint would be made … against some person for breaking the covenant entered into when he or she became a member of the church,” the archives say.


The use of “spirits,” “nonattendance of church meetings” and “violating the Sabbath” marked other common offenses.


Despite its doctrinal toughness, the church thrived until 1943, when the congregation decided to move from its unheated building to something more comfortable in town.


For a number of years, summer services were held in the building. Later, other churches sponsored events there, too, Copus said.


All but abandoned for years, the little church made a comeback in the 1990s thanks to the Gap Church Association, the Albany Historical Society and many volunteers.


The Gap Church sing brings the church to life every summer, and serves to remind local residents of their faith and history.



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