And Upon This Rock

image copyright Fred First

Here’s an image collected on the drive down to Mt. Airy last week.

This is the Bluemont Rock Church, one of several built during the period between the world wars in Floyd and adjacent counties by Bob Childress and his congregations.

You can read a brief account of the Childress history and legacy in the Buffalo Mountain region of Floyd and Carroll Counties. Interesting how this man’s reputation and good deeds are not universally agreed upon by all who knew those times and personalities as contrasted to the description of them in “The Man Who Moved A Mountain”, the book about Bob Childress’ ministry that started here in 1926.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. i’ve heard about him, but i’ll have to go to that site to refresh my memory. i think my mom talks about him in some of the workshops she does about Appalachian culture and history. beautiful church! i saw an old stone one on a recent drive but didn’t get to pull over and photograph it- maybe next time!

  2. Seems you were in our neighborhood, Fred. This church is several miles down the Parkway from us. I’ve seen many of the Childress Rock churches. My favorite is the one on Buffalo Mountain.