Sunday, July 26, 2009

Beyond riches

Reverend Bill Stovall (left) and other attendees join hands at the conclusion of the morning worship.

Story and photos by Bruce Thorson

July 26, 2009, Taylor, Neb: Loup County is the poorest county in America, according to recent published statistics. There are 207 people, at the 2000 census, living in Taylor, Loup's one and only town. The county has a total population of 712.

Driving in the day before, I went up and down its residential streets, which took only a few minutes. I spied Taylor's Calvary United Methodist Church, worship at 9:30 in the morning.

That's where I decided to go Sunday morning. Once again, these dang Nebraskans: warm and friendly.

I even got two jars of wild plum jam. Too bad I don't eat bread. I'll figure something out.

The reverend is Bill Stovall. He had just been installed as reverend there a month earlier. He thought maybe that's why I showed up to take pictures.

When I mentioned to several attendees I was there because Loup is the poorest in the nation, I was given the best "the glass is half full" answers. They went on and on about how living in a small town you get to know everyone, how you can count on them for help, how friendly they all are and just how quiet and uncongested a small town is. One woman noted that with all that, if she died right now, she'd be the wealthiest person in the world.

It's all about perspective...

Rob Dockweiler (left) reads the scripture while his son, Tory, 5, snuggles his stuffed animal during the morning service.

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