by Paul Cockrell

RAGLAND, Ala. (BNc) — The number of saints is falling in many congregations these days. No more so than in the rural areas and small towns of the U.S.

For one small church in an east-central Alabama town, already suffering from residents moving to bigger cities, a weekend tragedy has caused an uncertain future.

The body of Christ in Ragland lost its sole participating male member, Kenneth Crowe, who was killed Saturday, Mar. 7, while doing yard work at his father-in-law’s home in St. Clair County, about 48-miles northeast of Birmingham.

The 53-year-old Crowe died when his escape was blocked while trying to get away from a falling tree, according to an area minister.

Crowe was the only male member able to take a public role by leading prayer, singing and serving the Lord’s Supper each week.

Ragland depends on visiting and fill-in speakers lined up by area churches to preach for the saints who number around 10.

Funeral services for Crowe were scheduled at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Mar. 10, at Usrey Funeral Home in Pell City with Marty Glenn officiating. Burial will follow at Box Cemetery.

Meanwhile, the remaining Christians said at a gathering Monday that they plan on continuing the visiting-preacher schedule currently in place and will decide later how to proceed with the congregation’s future.