**UPDATE** Sept. 9, 2022: 2:56pm: The annual Joppa Church Homecoming has been postponed indefinitely due to a scheduling conflict. More information will be announced once available.
by Tommy Bolton, guest author:
As you drive through Mammoth Cave National Park on HWY 70, I'm sure you have noticed the old white church called Joppa.
This church, established in 1861, (although the sign on the church says otherwise) was a major part of a community called Elko. Eligh Parsley owned a general store and there were schools and several houses. It was a thriving community until the park moved everyone away by 1945.
Joppa Missionary Baptist Church continued to have regular services until the early 1970s, with Brother Curtis Wilson of Chalybeate serving as its last pastor. An occasional revival was held in the building, which has no electricity or water. The inside would be lighted by Coleman lanterns hanging from the ceiling and heat was provided by a pot-bellied stove in the center of the house.
Photo from "Pictorial History of Edmonson County, Kentucky," by Benton Cowles (1981): Elko General Store, located near Joppa Church, now in Mammoth Cave National Park. On the porch are Mrs. Nannie Belle Parker, left Mrs. Mary Ellen Denham (holding baby), Mary Wells, Charlie Tarter, Mrs. Bertha Tarter and baby. Sitting in buggy is Mrs. Beth Gentry and on bicycle is Rev. Russ Slaughter. Store was owned by Eligh Parsley. Photo taken around 1906.
About 20 years ago, Brothers Curtis Wilson and Rayburn Parker decided to have a homecoming at Joppa before all the old passed away. It was a very successful day and has continued until now, where annual meetings are held on the second Sunday in September at 11AM each year. This year's service is this Sunday, September 11th. Brother Steve Gipson will conduct a full worship service followed by a potluck dinner in the yard.
The most recent revival held in the church was on September 26, 2010, and was held by Bro. Kenny Decker, Bro. Steve Gipson, and Bro. Bobby Joe Meredith, where three souls were saved.
Joppa Homecoming 2006, WWII vet Van McCombs (now deceased) arrived early that morning to greet visitors. Here he is eating breakfast near the graves of his parents. (photo submitted by Norman Warnell)
One of the best known families of Edmonson County, the Parkers, was raised on a farm behind Joppa Church. They have attended this annual homecoming faithfully, passing one by one until the last, Bro. Mendel Parker, is the last living. He last preached at the gathering in 2017 and was greatly blessed. A large crowd was there, including people like Waneta Borden, widow of Bro. Buddy Border, who had preached there many times.
Again, the service is scheduled for this Sunday, September 11, 2022 and everyone is welcome.