Grace in Dingess

     Dingess is a small community in southwestern West Virginia. Most people, including those in its home state, have never heard of it.

     Dingess was once notorious for its lawlessness and violence. According to rumor, it was not uncommon for this small community to have a killing once a month in bygone days. From 1900 to 1972, about seventeen lawmen were shot to death in the area stretching fifteen miles along Twelvepole Creek, which flows through Dingess. Unwelcome newcomers to Dingess were occasionally met at the train depot with very inconsiderate results to them. Dingess is in Mingo County, known by some as “Bloody Mingo”, and described by one Mingo historian as “the bloodiest county in America”. The Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest labor uprising in United States history and the largest armed uprising since the American Civil War, was fought nearby during the Coal Wars (1890-1930).

     Dingess is so remote in a mountainous region that two of the few roads leading into it require driving through a tunnel. One of them is a one-lane tunnel a mile long opened in 1891. Driving through it may be interesting if traffic is coming from the opposite direction.

     Even a GPS device may have trouble finding Dingess. Mine failed me both times I used it – as though saying “I cannot pinpont Dingess, but I can get you close to it.”

     The first time was while approaching Dingess from the west. When the GPS device told me I had reached Dingess, I saw nothing but a gasoline station. When I asked the attendant inside if I was in Dingess, he told me to backtrack a few miles and then take a couple other roads to Dingess. He was right.

     The second time was while approaching Dingess from the north. My GPS device directed me away from the main road and instead down a dirt road along Twelvepole Creek. When it said I had reached Dingess, I was on top of a mountain with no building but a residence in view. Thankfully, the resident of the house rightly directed me to Dingess, a short distance away.

     One may therefore ask, as was asked of Jesus Christ’s hometown, “Can anything good come out of Dingess?”

     Yes indeed! The Lord has saved a considerable number of sinners in Dingess and gathered them into a church embracing the gospel of His free and sovereign grace in Jesus Christ. It is appropriately called Grace Baptist Church. In it are people who are both graceful and gracious.

     And the Lord has called some faithful preachers of His grace from Dingess. These include Gary Vance and Roland Browning, current ministers in the church there.

     Yes, our Lord can be gracious to even a remote and notorious place like Dingess!

Topics: Church Bulletin Articles
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