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March 25, 2014

Gary Church: It’s hard to believe, but I used to have a devil of a time behaving in church

NEW CASTLE — Recently, a friend of mine started a Facebook page about our former church.

The members started reminiscing about their weddings, child dedications, baptisms, and other events they hold dear to their hearts.

I probably attended that church longer than most of them.

So, what were my memories?

As a teenager, I was barred from Sunday school class for being disruptive.

The pastor found a job for me in the office to keep me out of trouble during Sunday school. When no one was looking, I would sneak out and go to Isaly's to drink coffee with the guys.

Then there was the church choir.

Sitting in the last row with the other basses, I had a small problem with keeping quiet while the others were learning their parts. I may still have some remnants of this little problem in me.

On several occasions, I was asked not to sing anymore in the choir. By this time, I had a driver’s license, so I hung out at Wonder Boy during choir practice.

It gets worse.

I was living a lifestyle that the church did not approve of, and they removed my membership. I was asked not to return to church.

Was I innocent of all of these accusations?

No! Of course not.

But God has the ability to turn one’s life around.

After getting married, I started to settle down a tad.

I became a Sunday school teacher, in the same room that I was barred from years earlier. This, of course, meant I didn't have time to sneak out for coffee during Sunday school.

Remember the choir I was not allowed to sing in? I became the director.

Although I never played the piano until I was 25 years old, I became the church pianist. Again, this prevented me from going out for coffee during church.

How I ended up as Sunday school superintendent and church board member is a real miracle.

Do I still have some of my disruptive tendencies?

I sure do!

Put me in a meeting, and I turn into Johnny Carson.

Things have changed since my early church days.

No longer does one have to sneak out of church to have a coffee.

They serve it right in the lobby.

My old church brings plenty of memories that I will never forget, but I'm fully satisfied where I'm at now.

I'm still a cut-up at choir practice, but Mr. Masi must have more patience than my former directors.

At least I haven't had to stand in the hall with my arms spread, holding a book in each hand, like I did in ninth-grade music class.

Wow, I hope I haven't given him any ideas.


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