In reading a novel that takes place on Lewis Island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, I laughed out loud when the author, Peter May, casually mentioned the Scottish Free Church, located in the small village of Cross, Scotland. Without so much as a wink at the reader, he described events that took place near the Cross Free Church.
Wow! A Cross Free Church. What kind of congregation would that be? No cross. Come to think of it, the Baptists of my childhood wanted no crosses in our sanctuary. Maybe we were a Cross Free Church, too.
I wondered about other towns in Scotland and around the world where the name of the community and the name of the church create some peculiar combinations. I discovered there is a Backside in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which means there is a Backside Free Church.
There is no town in Scotland named Jesus, so at least there is no Jesus Free Church, as far as I know.
However, the country of El Salvador was named for Jesus, the Savior, so I hope the Free Church of Scotland does not send a missionary group to El Salvador. If they do, they would become the Savior Free Church. Yikes!
Decades ago, W. C. Fields, director of the public relations division of Southern Baptists, wrote a funny article about Baptist Church names. Example: French Broad Baptist Church, so named because of the French Broad River in North Carolina. It was a long, hilarious article and I would love to read it again if I could find it. I can’t remember if there were Brazen Hussey Baptists or not, but there was a Republican Baptist Church and a Democratic Baptist Church. Fortunately, they were not close to one another.
There is a church in Hell in Michigan, and an Intercourse Church in Pennsylvania, a Beer Church in Devon in the United Kingdom. Those church names suggest one kind of challenge.
A totally different kind of difficulty awaits if you worship at the Boring Church in Oregon or the Little Hope Church in Texas.
I suppose I’m still waiting for the Conflict Free Church. But if I joined, well, you know what would happen…