Picture of the day - October 20, 2005

Pleasant View Baptist Church

Pleasant View Baptist Church - Widener Valley, VA

Today's picture features a small country church that I know very well and love very much - Pleasant View Baptist Church in Widener Valley (near Damascus, Virginia). My wife and I grew up attending Pleasant View, and even though I didn't always want to go to church I thank God that my wonderful mom didn't make not going an option.

Some of the finest people I know went to Pleasant View Baptist Church over the years. In addition to a long line of great pastors, that beautiful church has been the spiritual home of many God-fearing people who had a major influence on me in my formative years.

First and foremost, there is Mr. Herman Widener, one of the most dependable Christians you'll ever meet. For many decades he was (and still is) the church's song leader and one of its most faithful members. This man had such an influence on me as a youngster that I simply cannot express how much I love and admire him.

And then there was the remarkable Mrs. Edith Widener, a precious lady who loved everyone and strived to spend each and every day of her life "telling someone about the Lord". And what a life she lived - she was 105 when the Lord finally called her home! Her experience with Pleasant View was unique in that her dad and mom were the ones who donated the land and helped build the church way back in 1893. There was no one else quite like this amazing lady and there probably never will be.

Mr. Harold Thomas was another wonderful man who played a major role in shaping the course of Pleasant View Baptist Church. He "knew the Bible" as well as any preacher, and he sure wasn't shy about using it to help someone get saved or get back into "the will of the Lord".

Back when I was growing up, the men of the church would take turns leading Wednesday night Prayer Meeting, and it seemed like Mr. Thomas held it every other week. At the time, I wasn't too happy about him leading Prayer Meeting because I knew we would be there longer than usual, but looking back on those years I can clearly see how much this powerful man of God influenced my life and everyone else he came into contact with.

Mrs. Marie McVey was one of those people who everyone in the community knew and loved. She was a multi-talented individual to say the least - she played piano, sang tenor, and led the congregation in prayer on many occasions. She was a steadfast Christian who loved Jesus and made sure everyone knew it. For years she and "Mrs. Edith" were fixtures at Pleasant View - if the church doors were open they were there.

Another great man who helped keep Pleasant View Baptist Church on the right course was Mr. Wade Dolinger - my wife's dad. Although he was a fairly quiet man, he spoke up loud and clear when something or someone wasn't in the will of the Lord. He served Pleasant View faithfully for many years, both as a well-respected Deacon and the Superintendent of Sunday School. His wisdom and guidance served the church well and he is deeply missed by all who knew him.

And then there is my wonderful mom. She was saved and baptized at Pleasant View many decades ago, and she loves that church with all her heart. Always content to just sit quietly and let the men "do the work of the Lord" in church, she is always willing and eager to do whatever she can to help people find their way to Jesus - including me and my brothers and sister.

Of all the amazing Christian men and women who have called Pleasant View Baptist Church their spiritual home over the years, she is the one who had the most influence on my life. I shudder to think where I would be today without her stern hand on my shoulder and the love of her family and her God in her heart. I'll always be grateful to mom for not making skipping church an option and for raising me in the spiritual family that was the congregation of Pleasant View Baptist Church.

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