At some point in my youth my parents started going to South Elgin Community United Methodist Church. The church was across the street from their friends — perhaps the friends went there too? At least once they sent my brother and me to the Sunday school classes while they went to the service. Big mistake — for me, at least. I don’t remember how my brother dealt with his Sunday school experience — perhaps he was young enough to go to the nursery, but I didn’t handle it well.
I’ve always been painfully shy and new social situations were always difficult for me. I vividly remember sitting in a circle in Sunday school and having to introduce myself:
Sunday school teacher: Welcome to Sunday school! What is your name?
Other Sunday school student: What is your last name? Dona? Are you Dona Dona?
Other Sunday school students: Hahahahahahaha
I was embarrassed and near tears and didn’t participate any further. When my parents picked me up I told them I’d never go back again. I don’t remember if they were upest — I suspect so — but they didn’t make me go back again.
The next time we attended this church I went with my parents to the service. I remember listening to the minister and later attempting to discuss the sermon with my parents. Neither of them paid attention during the sermon enough to actually discuss it with me. On subsequent visits I remember bringing my bible with me and following along during the readings. I also remember looking around at the other worshipers and wondering if they were true believers or hypocrites. Did they follow the 10 Commandments, I wondered?
My parents quit going to the church after the minister arrived at their home, unannounced, one morning and chastised them for not paying their church dues. After that we rarely went to church.