Friday, June 15, 2007

Oral History

Mom called tonight, Dad and she are being interviewed via telephone. I tend to forget that they have lived through so much, it is imperative that at much of the story is preserved as possible. It turns out that they are the only ones found to interview, so far, that represent a part of our historical background for our denomination. If they hadn't responded, that information would have been lost. As it is, the researcher, who had planned to spend about 20 minutes with them today spent quite a bit more time, and will be calling back. Mom has asked me to help find more information while we are there.

You see, 50 years ago our denomination was formed out of the merger of 2 other denominations. Dad was the minister of a church in St. Joseph, Missouri. There were 3 churches in town which were affected by the merger. In the negotiations for those 3 churches to merge into one, it was decided that they would start off with a new minister for the new church. The other two ministers left as they found calls elsewhere. Dad was the last, and found himself ministering to all 3 parishes. I found it exciting, as a child, because he had a police escort between churches on Sunday morning so he could make all 3 sermons on time! No, I don't know how he did it, I really should ask again. I remember hearing, and I hope someone corrects me if I'm wrong, that they all started at the same time, but shuffled the sermon times so that he could preach. Eventually they held a merging ceremony, and all 3 met as one body. Mom and Dad have pictures, I'm in one of them, as they had the children from all 3 churches leading them into worship. The local merger was covered by national news media. Mom has copies of all of that. Shortly after that we moved to Utah.

Mom also asked if I remembered going to church camp when Dad was the director. Yup! Oddly enough, I am aware of knowing someone with asthma for the first time. Dad directed the camp, and brought the whole family with him. (Years later we did the same with OUR family!) I think her name was Anna, but there memory isn't perfect. But she couldn't keep up with the activities the other campers were doing, so she played with Annette and me. I was so upset when she had to go home in the middle of camp because she was too sick to stay - perhaps had to be hospitalized that night, I don't remember. I wasn't very old, but it hurt that I hadn't had a chance to say goodbye when she left. As I have learned to live with asthma, I've thought about her, and wondered how she is doing.

And then Howard came home tonight from the state-wide meeting of the denomination talking about someone else who was at the Synod when the denomination was formed.

Isn't it amazing how events in life are timed so well? Perhaps if I hadn't listened to Mom tonight talking about the interviews I would not have been so aware and interested when Howard mentioned the gentleman he talked with tonight.

But I'm also reminded that if we don't listen, we lose a lot of history. Each person has a history, we have to be open to hear it!

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