Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Church that Played Together

I grew up in a church that loved parties.  I remember, as a little kid, wearing my pajamas to the Watch Night Service on New Year's Eve where we'd eat and play games in the Fellowship Hall until 11:00 and then move into the sanctuary for a worship service that would last till midnight.  Table games were a big hit with this group, but no way were they the main course at our parties.  After the food, which was, of course, the main course, there were usually mixers and other activities that kept people laughing.

My parents' Sunday School class included all the younger adults and families of the church.  For one of their parties, there was a sheet hanging up with five holes cut in it, each about the size of a quarter.  Five couples were selected and the husbands disappeared behind the sheet, each with his nose poking out through a hole.  The wives had to identify their husbands by the nose alone.

We started partying early, as kids. Regular programming was occasionally suspended so that we could have a party. (How cool is that?!)  Once Mom and Dad took the junior highers on an overnighter and had the room decorated with lots of balloons.  Inside each balloon was a slip of paper with an activity written on it. When it was time to change activities, someone would pop a random balloon to find out what to do next.

By the time we were teens we were pretty good at planning our own parties. I remember the St Patrick's party that my friend Betty and our youth worker Carol planned. They even had a song that they sang for an advertisement for several weeks before the party.  I still remember it!  It was this: "In the basement, in the basement, on March the seventeenth, you'll be findin' lots a' leprechauns, drinkin' green punch in the sink!  Oh, me laddies, oh, me lassies, oh, me darlin' little men, to be forgettin' 'bout the party would be a shameful thing indeed."  We had a great time, just as they'd promised.

Bridal showers and baby showers were also big at our church.  I'd been to many before my own bridal shower, so it occurred to me that they might ask me to bake a cake from scratch -- without a recipe!  I found a recipe for yellow cake in a cookbook and memorized it.  Good thing too.  They set out the bag of flour, a dozen eggs, the box of salt, etc, and asked me to bake a cake.  I acted a bit befuddled, not letting on that I really did know what I was doing. Alice, who hosted the shower, wasn't sure she wanted any of my cake, but it turned out quite well, under the circumstances.

How good it was to be a part of a church family that knew how to play together.

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