On August 10th, 2014 the Linden Ward of the Franklin Stake held an open house. You can almost feel the intent behind the event. On the 130th anniversary of the Cane Creek Massacre, members of the congregation which included the site of the massacre wanted to open their church to their neighbors.
The event was to be 3 hours long, and included stations throughout the building that showed off specific aspects. This ward has four missionaries. Sister Curtis and Sister Ferrin and Elder Goal and Elder Steve. In an inverse relation to my age, missionaries are getting younger. And these seemed more youthful than the current age limit would appear to allow. They spoke about their testimony of the newest paintings in the foyer.
After seeing the foyer, we moved on to the Chapel where members of the Ward discussed what happens during a typical LDS service. There was time for questions, and several people took advantage of that. We moved on to the Young Men's room, which was positioned behind the not-so-sound-proof dividers at the rear of the chapel. In any other building this would be the overflow before the cultural hall (Translation: indoor carpeted basketball court). But this building does not have one ... yet.
Our tour led us back across the foyer to the Clerk's office and the Bishop's office. A member of the Bishopric was there to describe what the Bishop does and answer more questions. My tour was interrupted as more "real visitors" (translation: non members) arrived. I missed out on seeing the Young Women's room, the nursery and the Primary room. I did see the media center, and the kitchen, which were unstaffed.
For those of you imagining your own building as we walked through these rooms, I have to stop here and say you are thinking too big. I could have stood in a single spot and seen the door to everything on my tour. The stations were only feet away from each other, so I could see and hear many conversions going on all at once. Despite this, great effort was made to create an environment conducive to feeling the spirit, and they were successful on several counts.
Refreshments were available at the end. More sugar than is healthy for the average person, let alone a diabetic. Plus reading materials on church programs for food storage, family history, and more. One enterprising Ward member created DVDs with the combined video clips from the scriptures that the Church has put online. These were given out as gifts to the visitors.
I was there for 45 minutes, much longer than the 15 minutes the local thought each tour would take, and I did not get to see everything or talk to every one. Before I arrived about a dozen people had been through already. And another two dozen or so arrive while I was there. I left by 3:00 with another two hours to go. To put that into perspective, this ward covers all or part of four counties: Perry, Decatur, [most of] Lewis, and [northern] Wayne. The meeting house sits in a rural location 7 miles outside of the town of Linden which has a population of just over 900.