Climbing big steps to enter a brick building through heavy wooden doors may not sound like something a five-year-old would enjoy, but I couldn’t wait to go inside!
My Sunday school teacher, Miss Winnie, had big teeth, lots of white hair, and a funny voice that sounded like she spoke through a tunnel. She greeted us each week with a smile. Then she taught us to pray and helped us put our quarters in the offering cup. She taught us songs like “His Name Is Wonderful” and stories from the Bible. I loved her.
After Sunday School, we children marched upstairs to sit with our parents for church. And I do mean “marched.” Every week, the pianist played “Onward Christian Soldiers” to introduce the preaching service. I always pretended to be a soldier, picking up my legs like I’d seen soldiers do on TV. My bent arms swung up and down to the beat like a human metronome as we walked up the aisle into the sanctuary.
After finding my parents, my sister Lyn and I would squeeze into the pew with them. That’s when the fun ended. For one long hour we had to sit until the preacher quit talking. Lyn and I passed the time making up games with the hymn books.
Sometimes Lyn and I “volunteered”, via our mother, to sing a duet for the congregation. Since we were the only children whose mother owned a piano, we were “volunteered” often.
Our favorite song was “Let the Sun Shine in.” Mom dressed us in matching frocks with white gloves and hats. I liked wearing a hat because if we didn’t, Mom curled our hair on wicked wiry rollers the night before. It was impossible to sleep on them. Ouch!
In summer our small church overflowed with children and fun during a week-long vacation Bible School. My favorite activity was playing with Miss Winnie’s child-size tambourine and little drum. Rat a tat tat! Miss Winnie allowed me to play it daily.
After recreation time, we’d have cookies and Kool-Aid. We could eat as many cookies as we wanted, something I never got to do at home.
My family attended this small church until I was eight years old. Then my parents decided we needed to attend a large church with a youth minister. Our current church did not have a youth minister.
So our family transferred our membership to a larger congregation in town. I continued attending there as a teenager and met my husband there. We were married there and have raised our own children in this church. We pray they will continue to lead godly lives.
My life was blessed by both churches, large and small. My kids have never had a taste of what it was like to attend a small church. In some ways I wish they could have. I want them to see that large churches don’t always have the advantages. A church’s size doesn’t matter when it comes to its members loving God. White-haired Sunday School teachers with big smiles and cozy Sunday School room can exist anywhere.