The trial of Glenn Summerford intrigued Dennis Covington and caused him to think about snake handling churches. Covington began to embark on a journey to his self-discovery after his coverage of Glenn’s trial. During the trial Dennis noticed that he was becoming extremely interested in snake-handling services. He also realized that he was confused about who he really was. The trial made Covington understand that he needs to explore the world of snake-handling and decide if it was meant for him.
Glenn’s trial intrigued Dennis, so he began going to some of the snake-handling services in Scottsboro. Covington did not know anything about snake-handling before he started covering the Summerford trial. The first service that Dennis had attended was in March of 1992, at The Church of Jesus with Signs Following. Dennis had been invited to the church by Sister Bobbie Sue Thompson. The church was on Woods Cove Road in an old converted gas station and country store with a miniature steeple. At the first service that Covington had attended, a snake was never even brought out.
The Church of Jesus with Signs Following was filled with many nice people and while Dennis was attending, he became friends with several of its members. Eventually The Church of Jesus with Signs Following came to a close and Dennis, along with the rest of its members, had to find a new place to hold their services. Brother Carl Porter, J. L. Dyal, and the End-Time Evangelist, Brother Charles McGlocklin, began holding brush-arbor meetings. Brush-arbor meetings were services that were held under muscadine vines, honeysuckle, and starlight, and this is where Dennis continued his journey.
During the trial of Glenn Summerford, Dennis began to realize that he was confused about who he really was. Covington started looking for ways to learn about himself and his ancestors. When Covington’s father died, he left Dennis a binder full of research that he had been doing on their family. Dennis finally started looking through this binder and learned that his family is from the Appalachian Mountain area. This is significant because snake-handling is from this area as well. After learning this, Covington wondered if snake-handling was in his blood.
Snake Handling Churches
Dennis continued to attend snake-handling services to learn more about it. Dennis began exploring the world of snake-handling after his recent coverage of the Summerford trial and the discovery of where his family is from. Dennis continued to go to the brush-arbor meetings until they came to an end. The weather during the fall in Sand Mountain would not permit them to hold any meetings. The nights would turn cool. It also rains in the fall and brings in fog. On one of the last days of summer, Dennis was invited to go to Jolo on Labor Day weekend.
Dennis was not sure why he had been invited to Jolo at first, until he remembered that there was a famous snake-handling church there. Dennis and a couple of his friends, Jim and Melissa, left Birmingham in route to West Virginia, to find the famous snake-handling church. They get to the church and it is drizzling outside. The gravel crunched under their feet as they walked up to the open door of the church. The church had paneled walls and ceiling fans. Inside the church, smelled of camphor and damp wool. Things got a little crazy at this church. Four serpent boxes were a the front of the church.
Brother Charles got up and began talking to the congregation and strumming his guitar. A few other members began playing their instruments to go along with Brother Charles. The light in the church seemed to have changed. It was softer, more liquid. Then Brother Carl got up and began preaching after Brother Charles was done. Suddenly everyone began dancing to the music. They danced around the room and up towards the front of the church where the serpent boxes were located. At one point six snakes were being handled. Eventually Dennis handled snakes and he realized that snake-handling was in his blood.
The trial of Glenn Summerford intrigued Dennis. During the trial, Covington began to wonder about many things. Dennis became oddly interested in the snake-handling services. Covington also realized that he was confused about who he really is and that it is time for a journey of self-discovery. During his journey, Dennis realized that he needed to explore the world of snake-handling. Covington found out during his journey that snake-handling is in his blood. The trial of Glenn Summerford caused Dennis to think about many things and the effects of that made him realize who he really is.