No building dominates the center of Woodstock like the Dutch Reformed Church. The classic white columns and solitary steeple stand like the gateway to the town and its history. Yet how many people have been inside? Not until last winter, while researching The Pocket Guide to Woodstock, did I meet Reverend Josh Bode, who showed me this austere house of worship little changed since it was built in 1849. On a later visit to climb up into the steeple I hoisted myself up a wooden ladder that surely dated back to the original church built in 1805, much of which was recycled into the present building. Talk about traveling back in time! The attic smell of old wood was worthy of a museum. As for the simplicity of the place, Josh Bode described the Reformed Church (which no longer has any Dutch members) as the Zen Buddhism of Protestantism. In how many towns is Buddhism as the baseline? Another reason you’ve got to love Woodstock, where my informal walking surveys have concluded that Buddhist prayer flags outnumber laundry lines by 10 to 1.
On Saturday, August 11th, Reverend Josh Bode will be our guest for a Pocket Guide to Woodstock Village Walking Tour, starting at 10 am at the Golden Notebook at 29 Tinker Street. He’ll treat us to a tour of the church. Who knows? He might even let a youngster ride on the bell rope. The fee for the history walk is a book purchase or $10.
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The Mother Grouse Blog is produced by Will Nixon, author of My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse and Love in the City of Grudges available on-line.