We left our church family in March of 1941, preparing for Easter week in April while watching events in Europe and the Far East as World War II raged on. Easter would fall on April 13th in 1941. As always, I am indebted to The Girard News for much of the information about our church family. The News is available in the Girard Free Library on microfilm.
In 1941 the Protestant churches in Girard (consisting of the Methodist, the Baptist, the Presbyterian, and the Lutheran churches) held a Good Friday afternoon service from 1 to 3 PM. It was held in our church in 1941. The two hour service was divided into four ¼ hour portions with five minute periods of silence in between. Worshipers could stay and attend all four or just one half-hour portion. The first portion featured a meditation by Rev. Woodall, pastor of the Presbyterian church. The second portion meditation was by Rev. Duffie of the Baptist church, the third meditation was by our own Rev. Maly, and the final meditation was by Rev. Sinner of the Lutheran church.
Then, Friday evening, our church family attended a candlelight communion service. The News printed the complete order of worship for this service. It began with an organ prelude, then a hymn, “ My Faith Looks Up to Thee”. Next the Responsive Invocation led by Rev. Maly, the Prayer of Confession, the Gloria Patri, and a scripture reading from Matthew 26. This was followed by the Anthem, “Were You There?” sung by the Girls’ Choir. Then prayer and a hymn followed by the meditation. After the meditation and the Invitation to the sacrament, came the administration of the bread. Then a hymn, followed by the administration of the cup; a final hymn, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”, and a Benediction completed the service. There was no mention of the candlelight part of the service or how that was handled. I was curious because our family attended a combination candlelight and communion service in St Cloud, Florida one year where we all walked forward to the communion rail carrying our candles, and I was very concerned about the young girls with long hair so close to the candles being carried by people behind them. This past year when I attended the Christmas Eve candlelight service in St Cloud, they still had communion, but it was served in the pews and the candles were lighted after the communion. They still carry the candles in front of them to the outside of the church where the final hymn of Silent Night is sung. This goes over much better in Florida than it would in Ohio. If anyone remembers attending the Good Friday evening service in 1941, give me a call. I would like to know how they handled the candlelight part or whether it was an error on the part of the News article.
Then on Easter morning, the Epworth League sponsored a 6:30 Sunrise Service. This was followed by Sunday School at 9:30, and then the usual morning service at 10:30. This special Easter service featured two anthems, one by the adult choir “The Risen Christ” and one by the Girls’ Choir which was probably the one they sang Friday night “Were You There?” Then there was a reception of new members, followed by the morning message by Rev. Maly, “A Risen People” followed by hymns, Benediction and a postlude .
There was also an Easter Evening service, where Rev. Maly’s sermon title was “More Than Conquerors”. At that service, there was a guest soloist, Miss Dorothy Fuller, director of music at Leavittsburg High School.
Thus concluded our church’s celebration of Easter in the year 1941.
Remember that the war in Europe was in the news throughout the month of April. On the 6th, Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece.
On the 12th, the day before Easter, German troops entered Belgrade in Yugoslavia. On the 17th, the Yugoslav Army capitulated. The next day, Prime Minister of Greece, Alexandros Koryzis committed suicide as German troops approached Athens. On the 21st , Greece capitulated. On the 27th, German troops entered Athens. It seemed there was no good news coming from Europe.
We will end our glance back at April, 1941, on one happy note, however. On April 20th, Lois McCoy and Frank Ellis were married in Alliance. I, as well as many older members, have fond memories of this wonderful couple. Reading the article in the News describing their wedding brought a smile to my face.
This was our church family in April of 1941 – seventy-five years ago.