• Laurel Contributor

Church in the Wildwood

by Luke Osteen

Little Church in the Wildwood is a reverent, raucous remnant of the earliest days of the Plateau.

If you’re hungry for life from a simpler time, turn your attention to Horse Cove and attend a service at Little Church in the Wildwood.

It’s a little one-room wooden structure, the sort that dotted the mountains and coves of the area from the late 19th century through the 1960s. The place sleeps six-and-a-half days of the week, but during the summer season springs to joyful life Sunday evenings.

That’s when people of all faiths (truly!) gather and resurrect the tradition of hymn sings. The ad hoc congregation uses old, old hymnals and plunge into a selection of songs chosen by themselves at the start of the service. There are no sermons, no Bible readings, only the barest hint of organization. It’s all animated with a reverence and exuberance, and a go-for-broke commitment to sing loudly and without reservation.

If the Little Church in the Wildwood has any leaders, it’s probably Les Scott, the music director at Highlands United Methodist Church; and Mary Bean; and Tilly Arwood, who pounds the church’s upright piano with an unbound ebullience.

The Little Church of the Wildwood is a unique revenant of early life on the Plateau. Services begin at 7:00 P.M. Sunday through Labor Day. If you can’t make it this year, services will resume on Memorial Day Weekend 2020. Everyone is welcome.

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