We left our Church family at the end of October, 1941, seventy-five years ago, pondering the somber news that two U S Navy destroyers had been torpedoed by German U-boats near Iceland. One of them, the Reuben James, had over 100 men killed. This had occurred even though we were not at war with Germany. The United States was still neutral.
Some of the information presented here comes from The Girard News, Girard’s weekly newspaper published every Friday. It can be found on microfilm at Girard Free Library. Other information comes from our own church archives.
November 2nd was the first Sunday in that month in the year 1941. The attendance for Sunday School was 304 total including pupils and teachers. The total Sunday School collection was $17.01. We also have the Financial Report for our church in the month of November. We don’t have the actual attendance for the church services, but we can probably assume it was similar to the Sunday School numbers. There were five Sundays in November that year. The collections were: $ 61.21, 65.93, 96.89, 43.00, and 130.60. The total amount collected for the entire month was less than $400! However, their disbursements, including salaries, only totaled $222.09, so they were feeling pretty good about their financial situation. It had improved drastically since those dark days eight or nine years previously when they could not make their payments to the bank for the church mortgage, and the Pastor’s salary was typically running two to three weeks late. By the way, the salary for Rev. Maly was $ 91.00 twice a month. He would not receive his salary for the second half until sometime in December.
The following Thursday evening at 8 PM the Official Board met at the church. The meeting was called to order by Vice President Bert Shank. The meeting opened with The Lord’s Prayer led by Rev. Maly. After the reading of the minutes of the last meeting and the reading of the financial report, Rev. Maly reported that better than $8000 had been raised from the drive to raise money for the building fund. He then asked for permission of the Board to use some of these monies for purchase of accessories for the Choir loft and the pulpit. (I hope I have that last sentence correct. These are hand-written notes and I can read reading much better than I can read writing.) At any rate, the Board agreed to his request.
Rev. Maly also reported that the our church would have a program “on the air” from radio station WKBN on Nov. 10th, 12th and the 14th. Rev. Maly also asked the Board for permission to arrange a special Christmas Eve Program and to purchase materials for the Christmas Eve service. Then, Sunday School Superintendent Mr. Teeter reported that 70 Bibles had been purchased for the Junior Department so that the children could use them in Junior Church. He also reported that, at the last meeting of the Sunday School Board, they went on record as setting a goal to raise $1000 to help to pay down the debt within the next few years. With that, the Official Board adjourned their monthly meeting.
On the 12th, the Friendly Class held their monthly covered dish dinner meeting at the church. Most of the other adult Sunday School classes met at members’ homes for monthly meetings. The Women’s groups also met monthly at members’ homes. On Saturday Nov. 22nd there was a community Thanksgiving service held at the Presbyterian Church. All the Girard Protestant churches participated. Our Rev. Maly gave the scripture reading.
The local A & P Super Market for Thanksgiving supplies offered the following: Turkeys 31 cents per pound, pumpkin for pies – three cans for 25 cents, and cranberry sauce – 2 cans for 23 cents. And so we will leave our church family in late November of 1941, enjoying what would be their last peaceful Thanksgiving, while being reminded every day by the news from Europe and Asia that, almost everywhere else in the world, vast armies were waging awful, all-out war.