Deep in the Morgan County hills and hollows, heaven calls out.
Children splash in galvanized wash tubs in the shade of the old tobacco barn,
dreaming of cream-covered strawberries and blackberry cobbler.
Mercy, it’s hotter than blazes.
But as the sun peeks over the ridges at noon, the church remains deep in shadow.
No one seeks Jesus there - not for decades.
Strains of sacred hymns still echo off hard poplar pews, faint and reverent.
Or may be it’s just the sound of the walls peeling and ceilings flaking?
Like the “civilized” missionary women who came to save them,
they all left, one by one, until no one came at all.
Abandoned and forgotten, the church sits in lonely silence, a victim of the coal bust.
Oh, in these Eastern Kentucky foothills, heaven still calls,
but there is no one in the church to answer.
Mute and impotent, the union church faces death with bitter grace.
For most of all, it misses the children.


Robert Miller is a proud artist volunteer
for The Appalachia Service Project.

To find out how you can help Appalachian families
in need, click the logo above or call (423) 854-8800.