Photo story by Alex Scott
Pastor Mickey Havener used to see only a handful of people at Rocheport Christian Church every Sunday. New attendees were hard to come by, let alone a full congregation. With six or so people at the service each week, it was only a matter of time before one of the longest-standing Disciples of Christ churches in the country closed its doors.
But two years ago, Havener and Tim Carson, senior minister at Columbia’s Broadway Christian Church, collaborated to keep the church afloat.
In 2012, the church began bluegrass services on the first Saturday of every month. The services start at 5 p.m. and have become a community-wide event.
Overall attendance increased twentyfold.
Each of these Saturdays, about 100 people file into the church for a service complete with banjos, mandolins and sounds that hail back to a time long gone. It is, by far, the most popular event at Rocheport Christian.
“The style is indigenous to the area — bluegrass and country music, hill music or kind of a combination,” Carson says. “It somehow resonates with this place. People have just responded to it natively.”