Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, January 4, 2010

100 years

It's 2010. I know the ball dropped four days ago, but it's significant that it's 2010 because Mt. Calvary Union Church was started in 1910 -- 100 years ago. This picture of the church was taken in the 1940s. I'm in the picture (the little tyke with a person I don't recognize). I'm probably 4 or 5 year's old in the picture.

It was the first church in Runnemede. According to "The History of Runnemede" written by William Leap, the church congregation met at the old blacksmith shop. Since there were no benches or chairs in the building, it is reported that the congregation would arrive carrying washing benches. If it was cold, since there was no heat in the blacksmith shop, the congregation would move to the school house.

Mr. Leap reports that the building was dedicated on Feb. 22, 1911, and that's what the cornerstone on the church says.

You know? I don't recall ever seeing that stone, but apparently it's there on the right front corner of the building.

My dad was pastor of that church for more than half of its life (so far). He was pastor from 1944 until 1999 when ill health forced his retirement. He went kicking and screaming, let me tell you. In all those years he didn't miss a service (he didn't take vacations). He didn't even miss a service on the day his wife of 52 years died. He wept when she went to heaven shortly after the morning service. And went back to conduct the evening service.

I need to re-read the History of Runnemede (for the fourth time) because each time I read even a part of the book it reminds me of things I had forgotten about my favorite small town -- Runnemede, NJ.


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