I grew up from age 9 to 15 in a small town of Celina, Ohio. My brother, Ben, and I lived with our grandparents and Grandpa was the pastor of the local Church of the Nazarene. In June of 1949, Ben left the home to live with our mother in Indiana. Grandmother's health was failing and in September I moved to Kansas City, Missouri to live with Uncle Ray and Aunt Edith Moore. I graduated from Southeast High School in 1952 and was making plans to attend Pasadena Nazarene College in Pasadena, California.
Rev. J. I. and Mattie Moore, my grandparents
My grandmother had passed away two years earlier. I wanted to visit my retired grandfather and my hometown one more time before leaving for California. I had my brother Ben's 1939 Pontiac (he was overseas in the Navy at this time) and I stopped in Muncie, Indiana to visit my mother and my younger brother Bob. I took Bob with me to Celina and up to Elkhart, Indiana to visit our sisters, Faye and Lenna who were living with other relatives.
Celina Ohio Church of the Nazarene 1948
We were able to spend a couple of days with Grandpa and visiting friends in Celina. On Sunday, we visited my former church and the then pastor who I had not met before asked me to sing a solo for the evening service. I was introduced in church as the grandson of Rev. J. I. Moore. The Moores had a reputation for being singers and he thought I was a singer also. I had never sung at that church and had sung solos only for the teen group at the church in Kansas City. I agreed to do it because there probably wouldn't be more than 50 people there that night. Then he asked me to do a duet with Helen Howell who I was talking to and who used to be my brother Ben's girl friend. OK we said. Then he asked me to lead the singing for the service and I asked him if he wanted me to preach also -- he asked "Could you?" I drew the line on that.
But my last visit to the church included participating in the entire music part of the evening service. Something I will never forget.