The Church’s Missional Covenant

Connecting People to Jesus OT Lesson: Ezekiel 37:1-14 NT Lesson: Romans 8:6-11 Gospel Lesson: John 11:1-45 The area of Gainesville generally between Archer Road and Newberry Road; west of 34th Street, east of I-75 is a hub of shopping and apartments; Butler Plaza, a large student village, Hogtown Creek Swamp, and Oaks Mall. 55 years ago it was a sparsely populated area of north Florida woods. Vestiges of the Old Stage Road – which connected the Bellamy Road where is crossed Alachua County up near the town of Alachua, with Cedar Key – generally followed a southwesterly route near the creek to Lake Kanapaha. It ran by the Split Rock hotel and spring-fed pool, by the Kanapaha Presbyterian cemetery. Other than the Old Stage Road there were no official roads, the wood being threaded with footpaths which gradually accommodated automobile traffic, but only rarely, and usually only by the inhabitants of the Dry Prairie and Daysville backwood communities. My great-grandparents’ dairy farm and moonshine operation sat in that thicket. The woods were littered with Native American burial mounds and work sites such that every hard rainfall bled up arrow heads and chard and pottery fragments. North of present day 20th Avenue – on an abrupt high slop of ground next to the creek sat the Daysville Community Cemetery where Black people of the woods had been interred back to 1840. I was about 10 years old – Zachary’s current age. My father and I had walked through the woods hunting squirrel. The cemetery was isolated and overgrown, and to a 10 year-old boy, spooky. I had lost sight of...