Thursday, March 29, 2007

Back in the olden days (when I was growing up) there was no such thing as children's church.

Kids were expected to sit with the parents for the whole service. The first half of church was easy (songs, offering, more songs, standing, sitting, reciting, reading). But the sermon half was long and rather boring. I entertained myself by drawing on the bultien, imagining what it would be like to climb in the rafters, watching the celling fans spin, eating Starbursts, and making oragami creations out of the Starburst wrappers. (Starburst wrappers are ideal for church oragmi because they don't make crinkle noises like paper!)

Until I was about 10, church was mostly about learning to sit still and quietly entertain myself. I didn't actually listen to a sermon until the Sunday that Rev. DeJong preached.

Rev. DeJong came as a guest/pulpit supply preacher. He had retired and was doing the guest preaching circut. He didn't yell into the micropone like all the other old preachers. He seemed happy, even friendly - not to mention INTERESTING!

He probably preached at our church a hundred times before I noticed him (too busy making paper hats out of starburst wrappers). But once I became aware of Rev. DeJong I really looked forward to the few times a year that he came to preach. He told great stories and talked like a normal person.

* * * *

A while back I wrote the story of how I ended up becoming the "Ministry Supervisor" for a local seminary student. We finished the project last month, and now I have to fill out a final evaluation.

The eval form is designed for people doing traditional internships, in churches, with professional preachers as supervisors. Since this "internship" was all about creating an arts education experience and did not involve any bibles, hymns, or theological questioning, a lot of questions on the evaluation form are Not Applicable.

But reading through the evaluation questions about preaching made me think of Rev. DeJong. So I googled him - just to see what came up. (I realize that a fella who retired in the '80s would be VERY old, and kinda expected to find an obituary - and then feel sad). But a teeny tiny little part of me hoped that he would have a website or a blog. Or maybe some church would have a schedule that listed him as a guest preacher.

Alas, no website, BUT He has a book!
And the library down the street even has a copy!
How cool is that?!