Constructed in 1886 before the Rock Island Line railroad brought prosperity to Willow, Arkansas, the Old Cypress Methodist Church is nestled in a clearing a short distance from the remnants of the town centre. Born and raised in the area, Randi’s papaw Mr. Wayne Jackson, first attended Cypress Methodist Church in 1924. As he tells it, with a fond smile, the Methodist preacher stopped by his house to take him about a half-mile by horse-drawn buggy to attend his first church service as a young boy.
Now, after a lifetime, he still attends the church’s once-a-year homecoming with several generations of families whose relatives lived in the area at the beginning of the twenteith century. On many occasions, Randi’s Great-grandfather, started the fervent festivites of homecoming by singing “Church in the Wildwood” and many other songs of praise from the Cokesbury Hymnal. This warm-hearted hymn is still the first song on the bulletin some decades later.
From the old, coal burning stove to the wooden walls of the church, Old Cypress holds many memories for many people. A friendly oak tree stands guard at the entrance to the church which houses sturdy Hart Pine pews which have stood the test of time.