New York Years - Church Troubles

I've dreaded writing about this part of my memories, but everything that happens influences who we are today. The rough times make us stronger and make the good times brighter.

Church has always been the center of my family's life. We've rarely missed a Sunday service since I've been born and attended most of the mid-week services, too. My father was a deacon at W. Stephentown Baptist Church. My mother taught a ladies' Bible study. I attended Sunday School, VBS, and Pioneer Girls.

In 1971, our pastor resigned. My father was shocked and hurt and confused, but stepped up to the job of looking for a new pastor. A few candidates preached. One was different. He was energetic and full of new ideas. Some people really liked him; some didn't. Those that didn't started leaving. His ways were too radical.

This new pastor took out the table and chairs in our teen Sunday School classroom, posted psychedelic posters on the wall, and encouraged the kids to come in jeans and T-shirts. The traditional morning worship service disappeared. We rarely sang the old hymns anymore. The new pastor even held a dance at the church, to attract more young people. I'm sure it was more than outward changes to cause such a disagreement, but I was a child and didn't understand it all.

All this was hard on our family. My parents began counseling other couples. My parents encouraged them to stay in the church and speak out for what they believed. Sometimes, they talked far into the night. My parents decided to have my brothers and I stay a few days at our friends' house, but that was not good. I could hardly concentrate on my schoolwork. It was another disruption in my life.

At one business meeting, my father (not one to be silent) stood up. "He isn't our pastor, yet. We haven't voted." So, they voted by raising hands. Of all the people at the meeting, my father was the only one that voted "no" and they asked him to resign as deacon.

I remember a lot of tears from my parents throughout that time, but yet, a growing spiritual strength and confidence. (This begins a whole new set of memories, which I'll share soon.)


Laury said...

It's so sad that some of our roughest times in life have been because of church problems. Sad, so sad. You are right, though, the problems do help shape our lives - but sometimes for the bad.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt your parents were the stronger
Christians. It's not always easy to be the only
one standing for Truth, but it's right.

Elizabeth said...

Very interesting. Sometimes my life feels like a whole string of church problems and a lot of people don't speak out so they don't understand that these kind of things happen.


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