There is nothing more comforting to one than to sit in a Sunday School class with folks you’ve known for 52 years.
I have been a Methodist for 83 years and have seen a lot of ministers come and go. For those of you who don’t know – Baptists hire a minister for life, or until they get mad at him. Methodists hire a minister for an average of six years or so, and if he’s proved well liked and capable, he’s sent on to a bigger church and will be making more money.
My father in-law and mother-in-law were charter members of my home church, Firestone Park Methodist Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio, probably beginning in the 1930’s.
When their son and I decided to marry in 1953, the preacher at that time was mad at them, I don’t remember why, and wouldn’t let us get married in our own church.
So we went to the church where I was baptized, Kenmore Methodist Episcopal, about 10 miles away.
My brother-in-law was a Methodist preacher and that takes care of my immediate family.
I don’t ever remember a preacher I just flat didn’t like – and some that I liked so well I still remember them.
My aforementioned Sunday School class was located on the third floor of the church here in Fayetteville. We numbered maybe 20 to 25. Every 10 years, as we grew older, we moved down another floor. Needless to say, by the time we were in our late 50s we were located on the ground floor…just walk in the door and we were there.
My class, the Fellowship-Discipleship Class, always had four different teachers, one for each Sunday of the month. I was privileged to teach on the fourth Sunday for 40 straight years.
I would read five different sources and felt I was always prepared. As Methodist preachers retired and happened to live in the area, they would join our class. One fourth Sunday I was expounding on a point and I noticed one of the older preachers in the class was nodding his head sideways in disagreement to what I was saying.
I got so tickled I had to completely turn to the other side of the room to keep from laughing. I don’t remember what I was saying at the time, but I will never forget his reaction.
Now that I have to get anywhere by pushing a walker, I don’t get to Sunday School as much as I would like. But this past Sunday I made it, and seeing about 20 friends who have been in the class as long as I have, or longer, let me know I had truly been to church.