Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A childhood worship memory

In my last post I mentioned the Rev. Phillips, at the Bronson (MI) Methodist Episcopal Church. He was tall - OK, he seemed tall to me - and dignified, and warm. (Oh! maybe he is why I do not understand the supposed disparity between dignity and warmth, between formal and personal!) People liked him. My family liked him. I liked him. Because of him, I wanted to be "a minister someday."

Which I soon outgrew, but that's another story.

This story is funny because it goes against everything I have written in the opening paragraph. Except about Rev. Phillips being tall. It has nothing to say about that.

Our organist was Mrs. Billie Hunsinger. She was as proper as the minister was dignified. White haired, at least in my memory. And can you picture the classic Methodist Episcopal chancel - the altar rail, the communion table, the pulpit, and the choir stalls divided and facing each other over the open center? It's naturally difficult to get a good photo that shows this. If you've seen it you know what I mean. If you haven't, I hope you will someday. It's like the Kings College chapel, without the screen dividing the nave from the chancel, and an altar (kneeling) rail across the front.

So, that's the setting. I swear this is true. In my wildest imagination at that age, I could not have made this up. Rev. Phillips announced the hymn, which was new for this congregation. He said a few words about it, and explained that Mrs. Hunsinger was going to play it through for us.

Then he turned, and he said . . .

"Hit it, Billie."


Jim Lowery said...

It must have been at the Contemporary service.

Jim Lowery
Richmond, VA

Claudia Gerwin said...

Awww, Jim - you took the words right out of my brain!!!

Claudia Gerwin said...

Awww, Jim: get out of my brain!!! I was going to write that.