Memory #2- The Parents
In the early 80’s, St Thomas’ was classified as a Family Church. Family sized churches almost always had a patriarch and a matriarch to keep them organized, and St. Thomas was no exception. Ours were the Smiths.
Dexter and Minadel lived in the white house at the juncture of the Pittstown and Sky Manor Roads. (I still imagine that they are there each time I make that turn.) They were both retired when I arrived, she from teaching math and he from engineering, and had been a part of St. Thomas’ from its early days in the 60’s, the pre-heat days, when the chapel was open only in the summer and for special occasions. Minadel once said there was no reason for people not to come to the Thanksgiving service. “They’ll sit out in the cold all afternoon watching football, and the service is only one hour!”
Dexter was warden when I arrived and did all sorts of maintenance jobs in and outside the building. Minadel was The Altar Guild. With no storage area and no water, she took the vessels home each week for cleansing and kept them and the vestments at their house. One Sunday a month, Dexter lugged the big coffee pot over to sit on a window still and perk during the service. It was called St. Thomas’ incense.
Dexter had a heart attack one summer Sunday afternoon as he was cutting the churchyard grass. For a long time, his corncob pipe was left tucked in memoriam behind the National Register sign on the front of the church.
An even more lasting memorial, however, came with Minadel’s decision to use the money given in his memory to drill a well in the churchyard. It was a grand day when it was dedicated. Minadel smiled, “Dexter would say, ‘Hallelujah! I don’t have to lug water to the church anymore.’ ” We named it the Hallelujah Well.
We owe a huge debt to these devoted parents. They saw St. Thomas’ future and gave themselves to it generously, working to assure that it would happen and welcoming all who came through the gates. Their spirit lives in all of you today.
A word from the Rector:
Beloved in Christ,
As I write I am still in rehab in Morristown, and expect to go home on Sunday. The knee surgery went well, I am well, and the recovery so far is going very well. Rehab is hard work, but I have been fortunate to have helpful, knowledgeable and kind therapists and caregivers. I know the work will continue after I get home; it is sometimes hard, but always worth it.
Many thanks for your cards, calls, texts and emails: I am glad to receive them all. Forgive me if I do not respond, as the hard work of rehab demands more time for rest. Please continue to keep me in your prayers, as I keep you in mine.
In Christ’s love,
Please remember to:
Fill St Thomas Quarter Tube – Proceeds go to Episcopal Relief and Development for Puerto Rico. Your donations make a difference!