Thursday, January 22, 2009

New "Home " Church In Kansas City, Missouri

My New Home Church - KC First Church of the Nazarene

When I moved from Celina, Ohio, to Kansas City, Missouri, I changed from a small church of 125 to a large church of 400 or 500 attendees. Uncle Ray was the Music Director of Kansas City First Church of the Nazarene which was located at 41st & Harrison.

The first thing I noticed about this church was the number of kids my age. My last church might have had 3 or 4 my age but this one had 40 within a year or two of me. This was to become my social group and many hours would be spent together doing what kids do. We had hayrides, horseback rides, ice skating, swimming, ball games, taffy pulls, banquets, picnics, marshmallow roasts, and other great times.

The NTO group (Nazarene Teen Organization) met every Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. before our regular Sunday evening service. We had our own program and sponsors. Officers were elected and a paper was printed giving all the chit chat and gossip about the teen group. It’s fun to re-read these now and remember what being a teen was like. I kept 3 or 4 of these papers and found myself listed in them. We had our own distinctive car honk that was used whenever any of the group drove by another member’s home.

Some names in the group that come to mind are Don Cory, Donnell Whitcanak, Norma Dell Smith, Gloria Ramquist, Tom Ramquist, Delbert Gish, Barbara Gish, Chuck Harper, George Harper, Ralph Earle, Ann Edwards, Oletha Ludwig, Carolee Swim, Maylou Williamson, Joe Williamson, George Moss, Richard Davis, Evelyn Milburn, Charles Jones, David Benson, Ron Benson, Baylor Edwards, Shirley Edwards, Barbara Edwards, and Bud Bunnell to mention a few. In the Nazarene Teen Odes (paper) they are mentioned quite a bit.

Every year this group had a dress up banquet complete with music and program. One year four of us got together and sang a male quartet -- my first one. The members were Ralph Earle (Tenor), Chuck Harper (lead), Del Gish (Baritone), and Dick Moore (Bass). We sang “Dry Bones” and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We got together to do a few more songs and then took our group “on the road”. We sang at the mission for those less fortunate. That was a lot of fun for all.

Ralph Earle, Chuck Harper, Del Gish, and Dick Moore - NTO Quartet 1950

It was at this banquet that I had my first date. That was with Gloria Ramquist. Gloria had been dating Elbert Willingham who was in Bethany Peniel College (now Southern Nazarene University) in Oklahoma at the time. She eventually married Elbert. But he wasn’t there and I was, so we went to the banquet together.

Joyce Burr, Oletha Ludwig, Maylou Williamson, Barbara Gish, Gloria Ramquest, (don't know), Norma Dell Smith.

One couple that were sponsors for us were Don and Dot Farrand. Dot was a cousin to Ann and we became relatives later. Don was in the Nazarene Theological Seminary and became a pastor in Palo Alto, California. Don and I keep in touch by E-Mail now after re-connecting a few years ago.

I sang in the church choir next to Bob Edwards who later became my father-in-law. The church organist (Mildred Edwards) later became my mother-in-law. See the connection here?

Paul Martin was a popular evangelist who held services all over the country and came to our church several times. He had a radio program in Porterville, California, and had to record it on the road sometimes. He had me produce one of them and we became friends. Rev. Martin was in Kansas City when I graduated from Southeast High School in 1952 and he came to a party for me.

Ron Lush was a traveling music evangelist whom I became acquainted with there and later our paths would cross in California. Ann would tutor his son in reading. Interesting how things work out.

As you can guess from the above, I married Ann Edwards, daughter of Bob and Mildred Edwards. Dave Benson was my roommate for three years at Pasadena Nazarene College in Pasadena, California. I still keep in touch with Don Cory who lives in Palmdale,California. I was an attendant in his wedding to Angie. Barbara Gish is now Barbara Dickens and lives in Texas. We correspond at Christmas. Ann and I reconnected with Elbert and Gloria Willingham at my Uncle Ray's burial service in Kansas City a couple of years ago. Oletha Ludwig married Gary Hart who became a Senator from Colorado and ran for president at one time. Oletha's (Lee) mother made Ann's wedding dress. Ralph Earle is a psychologist in Arizona and we saw him a few years back when the college we attended in Pasadena sold their land and we gave it a proper sendoff. Baylor Edwards, Shirley Edwards, and Barbara Edwards became relatives of mine through marriage to Ann. Carolee Swim and Chuck Harper were in our wedding party.

The church at 41st and Harrison burned down a number of years ago. Our wedding on July 22, 1955 was held there. Ah -- memories!

1 comment:

alice_liddel said...

I enjoyed reading about Rev. Paul Martin, my uncle. He was a wonderful human being - a true light in this old world.