Monday, February 28, 2011

Dropping, Dropping, Dropping, Dropping, Hear the Pennies Fall

Every Sunday morning my mother would put a few pennies, sometimes a dime, rarely a quarter, in my hand for offering for Sunday School.  At the appropriate time, my mother now on the small platform of the church basement would wait for the appropriate chord from the piano and she would start to sing,
Dropping, Dropping, Dropping, Dropping
Hear the Pennies Fall
Everyone for Jesus, He will get them all
One by one we would march to the front and drop our offerings for Jesus.  Often I would wonder if Jesus really needed my pennies.  I would much rather go to the candy store next to the church between Sunday School and church to get something to tied me over until church was over.

Brooklyn Day Sunday School Parade
My mother is the teacher.  I'm in the 2nd row on the left

I've been counting change this morning.  I had a plastic bag full of it that we brought back from South Dakota.  I thought it was time to cash it in.  There was over $50 in that bag.  Not bad for an hours worth of work.  As I counted, I thought about dropping pennies for Jesus.

My children never sang dropping, dropping, dropping, dropping but they do recall Penny War.  Even though long departed from my home church in Connecticut, it will always be home.  I started attending that church when it met in a high school auditorium.  I remember well sitting in the auditorium with my then six children - two more were added in Connecticut.

Calvary was a small church plant that had a short history of four years.  The pastor was a Zion Bible Institute graduate like my childhood pastor, Ben Crandall.  I thought Pastor Dave must be okay if he went to ZBI!  I would try to sneak out sometimes but Pastor Dave always came running after me.  He'd call me on the phone if we missed a few weeks.  Our first Thanksgiving in Connecticut he went and bought a huge turkey for us along with a food basket.

At every church social, he'd load my arms up with food to take home for the children.  We stayed.  I wandered once for lack of children's programs only to be scolded by my children who "missed" their church.  It doesn't take fancy rooms or special programs for children to love church.  It takes people who love them.  Even though children's church was in a coat room, and the Sunday School classes scattered over a public hall - they knew they were loved.

I remember clearly when I heard Pastor Dave and "Teacher" Elsa were leaving.  I was sad.  I remember the last sermon he preached.  I used some of his text for my last sermon to the wonderful people at Grandview Covenant a few weeks ago.  That first Christmas without them when we 'd sing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" I'd think of Pastor Dave.  It was his favorite Carol and it just seemed we should have him there to sing it with us.

Pastor Bob assumed the leadership of the church.  I assumed the leadership of the Sunday School.  Every Sunday I'd be the first or second to arrive.  I got out the supplies out of the storage room and would make sure that there was toilet paper in both the bathrooms.  My kids helped.  Soon some of my kids were teaching classes of their own.  I was leading Children's Church.  We sailed on Vacation Bible Ship and we learned about worship from Selah the field mouse who David found in the shepherd field.  We climbed in the belly of a big fish simulated by a box fan and plastic tarp.

I had tried Sunday morning "quarterback" during Super Bowl time to raise money. Now I had a new idea.  We never made a budget with those pennies, dimes, quarters that came clutched in the children's hands.  We had a Penny War.  For the weeks leading up to Father's Day, money was collected pitting the boys against the girls.  On Father's Day, we served hot dogs and fixins on the lawn of the church.  Pastor Bob represented the boys; I represented the girls.  The leader of the team that won put a pie in the face of the leader of the team that lost.  That first year, I put a pie in Pastor Bob's face.


I counted a lot of pennies, dimes, and quarters.  I refused to give up ten percent to CoinStar.  I think I liked the idea of knowing that every penny did go to Jesus.  I thought of those children we told about Jesus with that money.  Many of them are my friends on Facebook now.  Many are parents of their own children.  One of the sweet little girls wears fatigues and defends our country.  I hope and pray they press pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters in their children's hands and learn about Jesus.

It's been a long time since I was part of Calvary.  I am wondering today about where God will lead me.  I am wondering if He has a church where I can be at home again.

4 comments:

  1. I remember your Mom standing on the platform at Salem's basement where we attended Sunday School, leading us in singing "Dropping...." as we marched single file to give our offerings. My 2 older brothers and I were each given a quarter for our SS offerings. I later learned that my brother, Charlie, used his offering $ to take the bus home instead of attending SS. Not sure how often he did that. But I always loved attending SS and remember your Mom fondly.
    ~Liz

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  2. And Liz, I remember your mom very fondly as well!

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  3. A sweet story! Joyce...you really had a good heritage.
    Ivy and Jonah had a "change" experience the other day.
    They have been saving for months to give money to help feed the animals at Lutz junior Museum in Manchester. They have a "bank" on the wall that looks like a tree and they drop money in and it goes down the slot into the main box.
    I know this isn't gving to God per se but I feel theLord is pleased when we take good care of animals

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  4. @Lin, You should read to them of dear St. Francis of Assisi http://www.americancatholic.org/features/francis/stories.asp#bir

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