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Response to The Daily Post: Buffalo Nickel

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

Could not find a single coin in my couch. So I stuck my hand in the bottle we keep coins in on the kitchen sideboard and pulled out penny. It was so corroded I had to get my son to read the date for me. It was 1984.


pennyThe years between 1978 and 1984 saw a huge change in our life as a family. For six years we struggled to conceive and were finally blessed with our son in 1978. And that’s when the upheaval started.

I had been raised in the Church of God, HL had been raised LDS. Neither of us were attending church at the time. Suddenly we were confronted with an issue we’d never considered. What do we do with about the baby? We knew we wanted our family to have some religious affiliation, but which camp? There were choices, of course. Baptism, dedication, blessing, or, I suppose, nothing at all for awhile.

That dilemma launched us into a three-year journey that found us traveling from Utah to my home church in Ohio to have our son christened and my cousin and her husband made his godparents. At the same time, a very dear friend of mine from work who had been a god-send for me as I struggled with God after I lost my first child, came out to the house to lay hands on and bless our son. Joe was a deacon in a Catholic church in town. A very wise man.

Ok… Two different traditions had now said the magic words over our baby and we were feeling pretty good about our new family. Or so I thought. Then HL began to struggle with what having a baby blessed in an LDS church would mean. Consequently, he dived right into studying doctrine in depth as he’d never done in seminary in high school. (In Utah the LDS church has “seminaries” built near every high school and junior high, and LDS students get release time for one period a day to go learn about Mormonism. It’s not fair, in my opinion. But that’s a debate for another time.)

In the process of that study HL came to some conclusions about his religion that just didn’t sit right with him. And next thing I knew he was asking to be excommunicated from the LDS church. What turmoil!

My family had moved to Utah in 1962 and begun attending a small Christian Reformed church. While my sister continued to be a part of that church for years, I was still seeking where I belonged. For a time I attended worship with friends at the chapel at Hill Air Force Base, but now I began to see we needed to be in agreement about how and in which faith to raise our family. So back to the Christian Reformed church we went, where all three of us were baptized in 1981. We threw ourselves into the life of the church, our faith growing as we served. And in 1984 I was hired to be the church secretary.

So 1984 for me marked the beginning of a 20-year career wrangling that small congregation. I loved every minute of it. Attendance at the church grew smaller and smaller over the years, as most churches seem to be doing. And sadly it closed in 2003.

We’ve since moved on to a marvelous Methodist congregation, but here it is eleven years after CRC closed, and I’m STILL getting calls from folks in that congregation when they need information. Where’s so-and-so now? Has Melinda had her baby? Remember that material we used in VBS… Last year I organized a picnic to commemorate our closing and the fact that our fellowship is still close after all these years. By myself! I can say with all certainty after all these years that it’s still 3% of the people that do 97% of the work. I don’t care WHAT church you go to!