Monday, November 17, 2014

Our History at St. John's by Bob Laughlin

It was in May of 1954, sixty years ago, that Charlotte and I came to St. John’s.  We were just married, and I was returning to Rock Hill after my discharge from the army.  Charlotte and I were married while I was in the separation center, so we were truly JUST MARRIED!  Charlotte was an active member of her church choir and wanted to continue the music she loved.  Her desire was to attend a downtown church, but we planned to visit several churches to find the church we would call “home”.
Our first visit was to St. John’s, and the greeting was so very warm and friendly that we never visited another church.  Charlotte was dismayed when she heard the choir under the direction of Dr. Walter Roberts, the head of the music department at Winthrop!  She thought that the choir was much to good for her to be eligible to sing with them!  The following Wednesday evening, while I was at work, the minister came to visit.  When she voiced her disappointment about not being good enough for the choir, the minister disagreed.  In fact, to prove his point, the minister drove her to choir practice right then.  She was thrilled to find that Dr. Roberts was happy to have her, and she remained happily in the choir for over fifty years.  Over the years, she was also active in many others areas such as circle leader, and other offices in the United Methodist Women.
Four adult Sunday school classes existed at that time: the A.M Graham men’s class, the Belle Bennett ladies class taught by Belle Bennett, The Browning-Sykes the middle aged couples class, and the Barber Harden young adults class.  We met many of our closest Rock Hill friends in the Barber Harden class. 
After a few years, I was asked to be responsible for ordering all the Sunday School literature.  I also began helping in the Sunday school office on Sunday mornings.  As life usually happens, on thing led to another, and I eventually accepted the office of Sunday School Superintendent, a job I have enjoyed for almost 40 years.
During our stay at St. John’, we have seen many changes and several building programs, including: enlargement of the parking lot at the corner of White Street and St. John’s court, the extension of the Sunday School wing, the purchase of two parsonages, the building of the Family Life Center, and now the building of the Children and Youth Building.  What a wonderful sign of growth and strength of the congregation!
Our children also had the privilege of growing up in St. John’s and having the influence of the leaders in the education department from nursery department through the youth department to help mold their character.  As adults, they have both accepted leadership roles in their churches.  It have been a true joy and privilege for us to be members of this congregation for the last sixty years.

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