We left our church family late in December of 1941, getting used to the idea of our country being at war. Indeed, on the 22nd of December, the Local Draft Board had inducted 35 more Girard young men, who had reported for duty on December 29th at Fort Hayes in Columbus.
The Friday, January 2nd edition of the Girard News reported that our church did indeed go forward with its New Year’s Eve plans for special services, beginning at 10 in the evening with games and snacks, then concluding with the moving picture (with sound) “King of Kings”, ending the old year and beginning the new one. And so began our church family’s venture into the year 1942.
That same edition of the News also announced that beginning with the first Sunday in the New Year, January 4th, the evening service at 7:30 would be called the “Happy Hour” service and the Methodist Men’s Chorus would furnish the special music for it.
The January 9th edition of the News reported that Girard folks had purchased $159,075 worth of U S Bonds and Savings Stamps in the period from Dec. 7th through Dec. 31st. I remember the Savings Stamps. When I began First Grade in January of 1944, we could purchase them for a quarter apiece. When you got enough to fill a book, ($18.75) you would be given a Savings Bond worth $25, ten years in the future.
On Thursday evening, January 8th, at 7:30 the Official Board of our church met. The meeting was called to order by Rev. Maly, who acted as chair. He opened the meeting with a prayer. After the reading of the minutes and the financial report and the acceptance of same, there being no old or new business, Rev. Maly gave his report. He noted that the fourth Sunday in January, the First Quarterly Conference would be held, and Dr. Secrist (spelling? – the District Superintendent? I do have trouble reading these handwritten minutes.) would be present. There was a covered dish dinner planned. He reported that there had been 46 members present at that 1st “Happy Hour” service.
Mrs. L. Williams reported for the Women’s Society of Christian Services. They were sponsoring a Red Cross First Aid Class for the first 30 ladies who registered before January 20th.
Civilian Defense was then discussed. After discussion, the following motion was made by Mr. Crider, seconded by Mr. Knauff, and passed: That the Chairman of Civilian Defense be notified that this Board be placed on record as a Religious Organization to help in any way possible with Civilian Defense. The carbon copy of the letter was included in the minutes.
I’ve looked at attendance at Sunday School, the one church record consistently available in our Archives from 75 years ago. In December, 1941, it ranged from a low of 263 on the last Sunday of December to a high of 364 for the Sunday before. Perhaps the low number of 263 reflected that a special event was planned for New Year’s Eve which followed a few days later. Now in the new year of 1942, the total attendance for the four Sundays is 275, 268, 348, and 340. The first two Sundays in the month were much lower than the last two. Why the large difference in pupils attending from week to week? I have no idea. I do know we would be very happy, indeed, if our attendance for Sunday School in 2017 came anywhere near these totals. I really wish we had the attendance numbers for Morning Worship. I have heard some older church members say that Sunday School was more popular than the Morning Worship. Was it? If anyone has some records from the forties with numbers in them, I would be very happy to share with all.
The Friday, January 30th edition of the News announced that there were plans for a community Patriotic Party and Dance to be held in the High School Gym on February 12th – all proceeds to be donated to the Girard Chapter of the American Red Cross. .
And with that, we’ll conclude our look back at January, 1942 – our church’s and our town’s first full month in World War II – seventy-five years ago.