38 pages • 1 hour readDennis Covington
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Glenn Summerford’s cousins, Billy and Jimmy, start a new church on Sand Mountain, the Old Rock House Holiness Church, where Charles McGlocklin chooses not to worship, asking Covington to be careful if he ends up handling any rattlesnakes at their services. After some time away, Covington finds the congregation again, after moving into this new space south of Section, Alabama, near Macedonia. The church was built in 1916, before even the oldest parishioners had seen anyone take up serpents, and had fallen on hard times before the members of the congregation restored it. Covington and Jim Neel drive up to the church six months after its purchase, having been invited by Carl to the first annual homecoming, where he would be preaching alongside many other handlers. Covington recognizes many of the handlers, including Punkin Brown and many faces from The Church of Jesus with Signs Following.
Desperate for Covington to hold a snake, Carl tries to catch his eye during the service, but Covington does not feel ready, choosing instead to stand at the back of the church and observe. However, the mood in the church that night becomes very vibrant and the longer Covington witnesses it, the more he feels drawn to become a part of it.