The 6 a.m. Bible study group began one Wednesday morning in September 1980 out of a spiritual need felt by nine men and women. The original group (Don and Genore Schaaf, Boyd and Barbara Lyon, Margaret Broun, Lori Hedvall, Marnie Hartmann, Margaret Rainey and John Wrinkle) decided to meet for one hour once a week for three months. We have since voted seasonally and annually to decide whether or not to reconvene. The group is now celebrating 39 years! It is the longest on-going ministry of St James!
Over the years more than 50 family members, parishioners, friends and neighbors have joined the discussions. We have lost 18 members, and several others have moved away. Three clergy have joined us briefly.
Since that first meeting the group, averaging 10 folks, has met an approximate and astonishing 1,216 times! And consumed more than 12,160 cups of coffee, tea
or hot water! We have enjoyed continental breakfasts – that miraculously appeared with no signup sheets. Our gracious hostess for over 34 of these years has been Genore Schaaf. One member even came in her pajamas! And it was a big decision, duly voted on, to change the meeting time to 7 a.m.
We have followed the Episcopal Church Liturgy using over 10 different versions of the Bible from King James to Peterson. Proper 28 of the Episcopal Eucharistic Lectionary became “our” collect to “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” the lessons each week. We have had three separate month-long studies of the Lord’s Prayer. Each hour concluded with individual prayers and the Lord’s Prayer. We tried three different Bible study methods and settled on the familiar three year cycle of study. Weekly vignettes of the lives of the saints widened and enriched us.
Our card ministry signed and sent over 1,000 cards to mark births, deaths, illness, birthdays, baptisms, weddings, old and new vestries, thank you’s and other noteworthy events.
Patricia Page used us as a resource for her PhD studies of small groups. She was interested in the dynamics of our group and interviewed several members about what kept this one going! We noted we had no leaders, no rules, and no bylaws and lots of voting.
We were together when the towers in New York City came down on 9-11. We learned to listen. We shared deeply.
Our final group is still Margaret Broun as well as Bob Bell, Roberta Tomkinson, Rob Sigmon, Richard Reynolds, Scott Whitaker, Alice Johnson, and our current host Bruce Roberts.
Margaret noted recently that she never would have signed up if she knew this would last 39 years!!
~ In Thanksgiving, Alice Johnson and Margaret Broun