08 February 2011
from pew sittin' to pew jumpin'
LaPaz Church of God
I don’t recall at all the original church building our family all attended, and the place where my mom and dad were wed. I do remember, however slightly, going to the LaPaz Church of God located on U.S. 31. But I don’t remember much about it other than we had the Nabisco wafers that would fit on your finger and Hawaiian punch for snacks and my grandmother was in charge of bringing the snacks to our preschool classroom on the second floor. Many years after the church split, and long after my grandmother died, my grandpa asked us kids to drive him to church and we would sit with him in the seniors’ Sunday School Class. It didn’t seem that anything had changed in the 20 years I had been gone, except the church bell in front of the building was donated by my dad in memory of my grandmother.
How does one go from being a part of the Church of God to Charismatic? Prayer meetings. Not just any prayer meetings, Holy Ghost inspired prayer meetings that evidently were off limits to the congregation of the Church of God. Our family, and my aunt’s family and grandmother, along with many others from the church started attending prayer meetings at a family's home in Bremen. They had an attractive high school daughter and the kids would hang out and play Twister in her room. I was about 4 years old, but I had a crush on Stephanie. Once our pastor caught wind of the prayer meetings the church exploded and many of us left to go to Lester Sumrall’s church in South Bend: Christian Center. Other than clapping, some strange languages being spoken, and kids that were black (hadn't seen that before!) in my Sunday School pre-K class…I don’t know that I noticed the difference, except that it seemed like we were constantly at church-Sunday morning, evening, and Thursday evening. Growing up Charismatic, however, was an entirely different experience, and I'm just dying to write that book.