Yesterday we took our middle son to camp. On the way, we stopped for the morning church service in Weyburn, the little Saskatchewan town in which I was born. I grew up in this church. I mean, we went to church three times a week, so, literally, I grew up in this church!

Our family moved away from Weyburn when I was twelve, but I returned for two years of boarding school at Western Christian College, and then lived in Weyburn again for three years when my children were small and Lyndon was beginning his lineman career. Carter was born in Weyburn, in the same hospital as I.

This prairie town and this little church have played a huge role in my life. It always gives me a strange feeling to return. Ghosts, you know. Memories.

Walking into church yesterday, a bright sunny summer day, I felt like I was six years old, holding my dad’s hand, wearing a pink dress made by mom, with my sister wearing a matching blue one. The church is almost exactly the same as it was when I was little. I could almost see my friends and me sitting in the classrooms, being taught by Mrs. Fleming or Mrs. Pennington. The boys – Alan and Randy and Lowell and the others – disrupting the class with their antics. The girls – Darla and Sharon and our friends – trying to ignore the boys and answering the teacher’s questions primly and properly.

I sat in the sanctuary with my family of boys and I thought of all the times my sisters and I had sat in these same pews. Drawing pictures, writing notes to our friends, listening to the sermons of so many men, directed in congregational singing by Mr. Willett, sharing communion, praying … we knew when Mr. so-and-so got up to lead the closing prayer, we were going to be awhile.

It was beautiful to see Nina Willett sitting in her same pew, and to see my childhood friends Darla and Sharon still there, to see Mr. Olson standing at the front, to sit behind Mr. and Mrs. Goodwin, and to look around at the many faces from my childhood. Older, but so precious. And to remember the ones no longer there. Too many to name. Gone, but just as precious in memory.

I have spent many Sunday mornings in many different churches over the years. It was sweet to spend yesterday morning in Weyburn, worshipping with old friends and memories.

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