Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Church Tradition Story 4: Projector Trees Clap

When I was four years old, we had a party at church for a stranger. My four-year old self could figure out that he was important. I didn't know why everyone liked him so much. I was afraid of him, because I thought his name was Mr Witch, and I knew witches are spooky.

It turned out his name was Mr Rich, as in Richard. He was the new youth pastor.

The church was a traditional Presbyterian church, with wooden pews and a pipe organ and choir loft. We were told not to run in church, because it's God's house. People dressed up, Dad would wear a sport coat and Mom would wear a dress. We sang out of hymnals.

Mr Rich brought special music to the church. On the one Sunday out of the month that we would sing this special music with Mr Rich, (in addition to the hymns), he would bring out a portable screen and an overhead projector. Because we could see the words on the screen, and didn't need hymnals, we could clap along with Mr Rich's songs! My favorite song had a line,

The trees of the fields will clap their hands X X

The X's indicated when we were supposed to clap.

I liked Mr Rich. He was fun, and had a big, hearty laugh. He knew how to play the trumpet. Mr Rich invited us to camp, where he led us in playing crazy games, like bowling with a ball that was bigger than me. Of all the grown-ups, his lessons on Christianity were the funniest.

A few years later, Mr Rich got fired--there was some sort of personality conflict among the leadership, and I think that he was fired for unfair reasons. As he packed up the overhead screen for the last time, one of the old church ladies said, "Good. I could never worship with that thing up there."

The last I heard, Mr Rich had become a truck driver.

1 comment:

  1. I remember exactly what you're talking about and I still like that song. I never understood what happened when he left. :(