Singing in nonAmish church

By Gloria Yoder

Hello Illinois!

Our church youth group, consisting of 25 youngsters, received an invitation from an English (nonAmish) friend to come to their church house and sing for them. My husband, Daniel, and I, along with our two little ones, were granted the privilege of going with them. Have you ever had an open buggy or wagon ride? It was a beautiful evening. In fact, the weather was perfect for the 5-mile drive to the Methodist church house where we planned to sing.

Austin, 10 months old, was in his glory. He delights in spending time outdoors and absolutely loves going on rides of any kind.

Julia, 4 years old, sat between Daniel and me on a bench taking in all the early autumn scenery, honored to have the chance of going along.

Daniel and I relaxed and enjoyed the ride, as one of the boys on the front seat guided the horse down the country roads following the horse and wagon in front of us.

All was going well until shrieks from a few of the girls met our ears. They had been sitting on the back of the wagon when we drove through a mud puddle, giving them an unwanted shower of icky brown mud.

I have to credit the boys, though, for giving fair warnings and, after that, for driving slower through the additional puddles.

Arriving at the small church, we were welcomed with outstanding hospitality.

When we stood to sing, I was a bit nervous at first, especially with two little ones to care for. Everything, though, turned out fine. After the introductions were completed and we were singing, I felt myself relaxing. I kept reminding myself that we were there to sing to God, not to impress people.

Have you ever had the chance to listen to men’s arrangement singing? I love it. I like listening to the masculine voices blend together. We sang for 30 minutes and then the boys sang a song followed by a brief devotional. After that, we ladies sang a song in ladies arrangement.

Our singing is done in four-part harmony without any musical instruments. The songs had all been sung in English when someone asked if we could sing a German song. We then sang the German and English version of “For God So Loved Us.”

We enjoyed singing and soon it was time for a parting song.

Our friend, Leonard, who had invited us, made an announcement that tickled our funny bone. He said that they’ll be taking an offering to pay for the gasoline it took for us to get there. A ripple of laughter went through the entire church house. Everyone knew better. No gas is used for horses!

Their group of about 30 people responded appreciatively with applause after each song. Austin loved hearing all the clapping. Leonard was one of the first people we got to know in the Flat Rock community when we first moved here 20 years ago.

After the singing was over, we were ushered downstairs, where they served ice cream with all kinds of toppings along with cookies, bars and cakes. It gave us an excellent opportunity to chat with the people in their church before leaving. We parted as friends with an invitation to return again.

Leonard, who has been a member of that church for 40 years, recently shared a pumpkin crunch recipe with Mom. It’s similar to what we’ve made for years and, yes, it is always a hit!

Pumpkin Crunch

1 package yellow cake mix

1 can solid pack pumpkin

1 can evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

12 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans and drizzle melted butter over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Serves 15.

By Gloria Yoder