Memory #3- The Children
It warms my heart to see the long line of St. Thomas’ children filing in for communion these Sundays. What good things must be going on back in the Parish Hall each week!
There were 6 children in the congregation in the fall of 1982—4 in one family, 2 in another and the organist’s daughter. They ranged in age from 4 to 12. Their parents wanted to have some kind of Christian education for them, so we started a one-room school house kind of session each Thursday afternoon.
In bad weather we’d be inside, sitting on the floor for lessons and crafts. On nicer days, we’d sit outside on the wall for lessons, using the flat tombstone by the front door as a kind of desk. It wasn’t a perfect arrangement, but it worked. I like to think that Moses Thatcher, who lay underneath the stone, was happy for the company.
After a year or so, our number had grown enough that splitting the group seemed sensible. Everyone’s favorite hymn was, “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” so the classes just naturally were named the Great Creatures and the Small Creatures. By that time we had the garden shed out back to serve for many purposes, one of which was space for the Greats to meet on Sunday morning during the service. The Smalls continued the Thursday schedule.
More children arrived as the congregation grew, and it was necessary to add the Middle Creatures…and then, as our children got older, came the Night Creatures, high schoolers who gathered on Thursday nights. The Food Pantry shopping trips began in this period, with teams made up of all the Creatures. How wonderful that they continue to this day! (Don’t forget your contributions for this year’s trip on Presidents’ weekend.) Seeing the teams struggling to get the most good food for their allotted budget—and watching the anxious faces as they checked out….”Do we have enough money??”….was a delight.
Everyone wanted an Epiphany Pageant, so we started one as soon as we had enough people for the parts! Our resident poet, Coby Britton, wrote original scripts for several years. He insisted on two things: There had to be a lot of “baaaaing” by the sheep, and Herod had to make a brief appearance, because, even in that beautiful story, there was menace, and it couldn’t ignored.
Tuesday Service Days took the place of bible school for a few summers, with a variety of projects, from sorting clothes for a little mission in Kentucky to delivering Meals on Wheels, all based around Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats. We tried to be the Sheep, this time without the “baaaing.”
Our efforts at Christian education worked, even with awkward schedules and limited facilities, because there were then, as there are today, teachers whose commitment, enthusiasm, and ingenuity made it work. The children filing in for communion each week are in the line of all of those past Creatures and teachers. May the line continue to grow!
A word about the rector:
Carol is home and continues to recover, with little “hiccups” along the way. Please continue to keep her in your prayers, as she keeps you in hers.