Loudon UMC celebrates All Saints

Stock Creek Bluegrass members Melanie Harris, left, and Bob Dykes jam Sunday at Loudon United Methodist Church.

Loudon United Methodist Church paid tribute Sunday to those who lost their lives during the past year.

The church’s hour-long service was at 10 a.m. and featured music from Stock Creek Bluegrass.

All Saints’ Day, also called All Hallows and preceded by Halloween, is held Nov. 1 and celebrates those who aren’t honored on other days of the year.

Loudon UMC decided to observe All Saints’ Sunday.

“It’s a time when we remember those in particular who we have lost the last year and others as well,” the Rev. Amy Cook, church pastor, said. “It’s kind of the liturgical day of the dead, and so that’s why we have the candles out there. We’re going to light candle for our folks. Out of a miracle, we have not lost anyone in the last year who’s a member, so we’re going to remember others who we’ve lost and remember those who have passed from COVID in the world and in our country. ... It’s always the Sunday after Nov. 1.”

In years past, the church would light candles signifying the number of people from the congregation lost during the year. Without deaths, the church instead lit six candles.

Cook emphasized the day was more of a celebration.

“It’s a way to thank God for the gifts in the image of Christ we’ve seen in their life and maybe challenge us to pick up some of that, too,” she said. “... I think mainly seeing the image of Christ in their life — as we believe everyone has the image of God — and reflecting on that, but also celebrating eternal life is something we live in now. And it’s a thanksgiving, it’s like an early thanksgiving for these lives.”

Stock Creek Bluegrass was featured after Cook asked Sam Carey, who attends the church, to bring the band.

“All Saints is a tradition and so is bluegrass — so here we are,” Cook said, laughing.

Throughout the service the band played hymns and encouraged the congregation to sing along.

Carey has been the band’s bass player for two years and has attended Loudon UMC since birth in 1956.

He felt the music genre just made sense to include in the service.

“One, we’re in a rural town and it fits perfectly for a small town,” Carey said. “Gospel music in the region, gospel music and bluegrass go hand in hand. String music in rural areas was how it all originated and we are getting back to the origins of gospel music in this region. It started, if it had any music behind it, any accompaniment, it was string music, and that’s where we’re doing pretty much the original. This was before country music came along. This goes back to the days of A.P. Carter, the Carter family. This goes back to the same type of gospel you would hear from the Carter family in the late ‘20s and ‘30s.”