Carol Remembers

*Carol has been attending HMC her entire life. The following are some of her memories, shared in her own words through an internal publication celebrating the 100 year anniversary of our church in 2001.

I remember an upside down view of underneath the pews. While my parents concentrated on the Bible lesson, I leaned over the pew searching for legs that I recognized. Occasionally I’d disappear altogether, crawl under the pews and pop up somewhere else. (I’ve heard that sometimes I’d be found sitting motionless on the lap of Mrs. Purdy Sr. who would be brushing my hair into ringlets.)

I remember tiring Sunday School teachers with my perplexing questions and being rebuked by those who couldn’t hear the sermon for my giggling. I remember once being carried out of an evening service, limbs flailing in protest.

I remember that my parents allowed me to doodle during the sermons. I appeared to be remarkably attentive but I was actually trying to capture the earnest expression on the pastor’s face.

It seems as if I didn’t pay attention at all when in fact I have a vivid recollection of the Hanover Missionary Church as it has been since the last 1960’s. I was born into this church, the second daughter of vitally active church members, Harold and Muriel, and a frequent source of embarrassment to them.

Our family life revolved around church activity. I took for granted that my father was frequently at board meetings or building meetings. Time and time again I saw my mom preparing or washing up communion trays, planning a Sundy School or Junior Church lesson, or organizing Keys to Life material. Our home was opened to a host of guest musicians, speakers, and missionaries. We knew everyone and everyone knew us.

I remember turning to individuals within our church family for support during a difficult period when my parents and I were not communicating well. My mother implored another adult to spend time with me and the adult agreed and guardedly approached me to ask what I would like to do that weekend. Imagine her surprise and relief when I replied, “I’d like to learn how to knit!” We spent the weekend sitting on the beach knitting.

I should have been a maturing Christian by the time I was a teen but I wasn’t. I was accustomed to altar calls and urgent pleas to “make a decision”. The truths of scripture and doctrinal statements that I could recite with ease had failed to penetrate my heart.

About this time the pastor started reading the Bible in new translations and began leading the congregation in singing less hymns and more choruses…these changes made a profound difference to me. I was no longer distracted by religious terminology and poetic Elizabethan language and was challenged and convicted by the gospel message. I became a Christian. On a hike with the youth I spontaneously asked Pastor Bill to baptize me and he did.

Evidently, I’m quite attached to architecture and resistant to change because I was intently upset when the Chapel was first subdivided. I liked to stand in the quiet chapel and visualize what once had been. Construction workers were rededicating my memories. (More than) twenty years later, I concede that the church building needs to be used the best way possible. I am thrilled with the…nursery and young children’s facility.

I have learned that the people are the church. I am thankful that my children want(ed) to go to Sunday School because of the terrific teachers who (took) a sincere interest in their well-being. I will always remember that I’ve met some of my dearest friends in our church.

Our church today exists because of God working through many dedicated Christians. Perhaps because of my small stature or spiritual immaturity I have a unique vantage points to those former pillars of the church – both seen and unseen – and I shall always look up to them.