This got me thinking about my own personal walk and that a series of posts on this would be better than ranting and raving on other things.
I grew up in church. I have fleeting memories of churches in Pueblo, Co where we lived until age nine. The first real impact a church had on me was at Sandia Baptist Church here in Albuquerque when I was ten. This is the churches fiftieth anniversary year and for many of those years it had a decided impact on our family. Hey Bruce and I met our wives at this church, if that's not a decided impact nothing is.
What I remember about this church was Wednesday night services. The church had old army barracks (long since replaced) one of them held the kitchen and dining area, and as most SBC churches at that time before the midweek prayer meeting they served a meal, everyone came, paid a small amount and sat down at long tables for a pleasant breaking of bread. It was warm, friendly, there were lots of kids my age to eat with as the grownups left us alone for their own conversations. Not many churches have Wednesday prayer meeting anymore, and even fewer have a kitchen and serve meals. So much of the soul of the church departed when this practice ended. Those dinner tables is where the friendships that last a lifetime were born.
The first Sunday School teacher I remember was Bob May. I was in a class of about ten boys my age and instead of lecturing us, this very soft spoken and patient man would let each of us read a few verses of the lesson out of our Bibles. He would then make a few pertinent points about the lesson and the class would be over. Mr. May's daughter-in-law works with Grinnygranny, and when I made application to APS they called me in rejecting my application saying that my references weren't "professional." I was beginning to become quite agitated when I saw Bob May walk through the office. He was the chief financial officer for APS, and his presence struck utter terror in any administrator who spent a penny the wrong way. I waved at him, said hi. He waved back and walked into the other office. I then told the lady he would be a reference for me. I was hired.
You have no idea how small the Baptist community is here.
Bruce and I made our professions of faith here and were baptized together. I remember that I didn't hold my breath long enough as the pastor dunked me and I came up coughing.
At this time we started making trips to Glorieta. Mom went up for a meeting. Bruce and I had a few hours on the grass outside the chappel. We took up our baseball gloves and played catch, and a number of other things to occupy our time. When Mom came out and we drove home it wasn't until we got out of the car that I discovered I'd left my glove in Glorieta. A devastating experience for a ten year old. The other visit to Glorieta at this time was a once in a lifetime spectacular. Unfortunately I was too young to appreciate it. All the choirs in the state practiced for months to perform the entire Handel's Messiah. The soloists performed the same concert at Ridgecrest NC (the other SBC encampment). The place was packed. We were way in the back and could barely see the stage. The booklet we were given had the words of the songs so you could follow along, but I was bored stiff. The only high light was that in the middle of the performance the booklet had the Hallelujah Chorus with the notes so the entire audience could sing along. I enjoyed that. The second half (which to this day I've never heard or seen performed again) took forever. There was real heartbreak as we spread Penni's ashes in the prayer gardens this past summer in Glorieta, but my heart also breaks for a place so special for most of my life that has become a shadow of its former self. The SBC has all but abandoned this encampment. Oklahoma and Texas have build competing camps and they made up most of the campers.
The next year we moved away from that part of town and joined another church. We would becomes members of this church numerous times over the years and the people we met and became friends with are still a part of our lives.