“A Church for the Birds” by Doug Fincher

“Eutychus fell out the window because of Paul’s long sermon...” Acts 20:9

February 22, 2021 - In the late fifties while I was a student at ETBU in Marshall, Texas, I was asked to preach at The Bonaldo Baptist Church in Nacogdoches County. The church was composed of the descendants of the early Spanish settlers: the Acostas, Molandes, Ariolas. The Bonaldo Creek and the Loco Creek ran near this community and into the Angelina River. The church decided to name their church after one of them and wisely chose The Bonaldo.

Both the log parsonage and the outhouse were inhabited by large wood rats and long chicken snakes. And the ancient well was partially filled with an accumulation of armadillo hulls, tin cans, and years of dinner-on-the-ground leftovers.

When I arrived for my appointment that first Sunday, Deacon Vick Ariola introduced me to his seven Molandes cousins and their families who made up the majority of the membership. He advised me, “Now preacher, we got a bird nesting under the pulpit and we don’t want them eggs to git cold.”

Sure enough, as I approached the pulpit, a wren fluttered from her nest under the pulpit and sailed out through a missing windowpane. I don’t remember what my sermon subject was that day, but I do remember that I didn’t let those eggs get cold!

I was pastor of the church for two years and they never replaced the windowpane. They must have figured keeping out the elements was not as important as keeping out long-winded preachers!