precious memories

Today I thought of the creek that surrounded the church where I grew up. Nowadays building codes would surely say this was unbuildable land, in case of flooding, but I never remember that being a problem there. On one side of the church was a wide walkway where we used to play “monkey on the sidewalk.” It could be tricky because the ground on one side of the concrete pathway fell off steeply down towards the creek, and if you were running that direction you had to cross the sidewalk quickly before getting tagged and yet be able to stop quickly enough to keep from tumbling down the hill.

The creek curved around to the other side of the church where there was a bridge for people to walk across from the parking lot on the other side of the stream. The construction was simple – a concrete span with metal pipes for the handrails. If it were built today, the bridge would undoubtedly be more ornate, yet it served its purpose well. Plus there were lots of trees surrounding the creek which made it a shady place in the heat of the summer.

The church was built in the 1950’s in a growing suburban area of our city as a mission of another church not too far away. My mother was on the “building committee” and I have a picture of her as part of the group unveiling the cornerstone of the three story education building. This was the first phase and stood alone for several years until money could be raised to build the bigger sanctuary and fellowship hall.

Meanwhile, worship services were held on the second floor of the education building. I recall the folding chairs we sat on and the plain concrete floor. There were double swinging doors that led into the space on each side of the front, and a small stage in the front served as the altar, with windows all across the back. Later this area was turned into several classrooms when the sanctuary was complete.

I went to this church all my life until my husband and I were married there. My best friends went there, and our family friends were members there, too. I learned about the Bible, sang in children’s and youth choirs, went to Vacation Bible School, played church basketball and softball, went on mission trips, and sang in Christmas and Easter programs there. It was a tremendously influential part of my life.

I suppose this came to mind because earlier today I was looking through an old “Golden Anniversary” program from the church. It listed gifts made to the church in honor or in memory of many church members. As I read the names, I saw my Sunday School teachers, song leaders, Bible scholars, youth group leaders, ladies who cooked and served Wednesday night suppers, ushers, deacons, mission leaders, and friends who loved and prayed for me all my life. I realized once again how blessed I am to have been a part of this community and to have known so many people who loved and served the Lord together.

7 thoughts on “precious memories

  1. Wendi says:

    This is such a beautiful tribute to the church you found as a home growing up. I recently stumbled across a collection of newspaper articles my dad wrote as a columnist about youth group trips. The names he mentioned did the same thing to me – made me so thankful for the bonds that hold our tiny community together. What a blessing to have these memories and write them out.

  2. Something you and I have in common – being part of the same community, including a church community for a long time. It is becoming a rare thing these days.

  3. pamelahodges says:

    You wove such a beautiful story starting with the creek and the memories of playing games there as a child. The building of the church and the land around it serves as the foundation for the journey of faith, You are so fortunate to have people who loved and prayed for you.
    We have moved about every 5 years in our marriage. I am thankful for my journey of friends. The constant in my life is not the people , but that God is with me when I move.

  4. Amen! God is the constant that never fails!
    You always write something in your comments that I wish I had included in my own writing. “The building of the church and the land around it serves as the foundation for the journey of faith.” So true!!
    Thanks for you constant encouragement, too.

  5. […] have written about memories of that church, but church is really not the building, but rather the people, and there are so many who shaped my […]

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