We left our church family back in March of 1940, having celebrated an early Easter with the choir providing the stirring “Hallelujah Chorus” for both the Sunday morning and evening services. Now we will take a look at what was going on in the month of April, 1940. As usual, we are indebted to The Girard News, which is available on microfilm at the Girard Free Library, for much of our information, supplemented by our own Archives. The Women’s Home Missionary Society got right to business on April 1st, meeting at the church with 24 members present. Mrs. Hilberry read an article on Christian Citizenship entitled “Know Your Own Community”.
Also on April 1st, but in the evening, the Official Board had their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. J J Wiand presided. The meeting opened with prayer by Pastor Hilberry. The financial secretary’s report was read and accepted. Board of Trustees had no report. Janitor service was discussed. Motion was made that Janitor matter be referred to a special committee. Motion carried. Next came the Pastor’s report. Rev. Hilberry advised that 45 people had recently been received into membership of the church. Then the matter of the Scout Committee was discussed. The chairman appointed a scout committee consisting of five people. There being no further business, motion was made to adjourn. Motion carried.
On the first Sunday in April, the 7th, The Women’s Foreign Missionary Society had charge of the service. The guest speaker was Rev. A. E. Parker of Woodstock School in India. This must have been eagerly listened to by our church family. After all, India in 1940 was part of the British Empire. Indian soldiers were indeed part of the English troops fighting the Japanese in the Pacific theatre of what came to be called World War II. The news from Europe had been very disturbing in the early months of 1940. Now it was about to become even worse. Just two days after Rev. Parker’s visit to our church, Germany invaded both Denmark and Norway, two countries who had declared neutrality at the beginning of hostilities the previous September. Germany would quickly overrun and occupy both countries.
The following Sunday, the 14th, Rev. Hilberry spoke on “Treasure Seekers”. At the evening service, Dr. Vernon McCombs, Supt. of the Latin American Missions of the Methodist Church spoke on the work of the church among Spanish speaking people in California and the Southwestern part of the United States.
On Tuesday, April 16th, opening day of the Cleveland Indians baseball season, probably saw quite a few of our church family members keeping an ear turned to the radio broadcast with Jack Graney giving the play by play description. Bob Feller pitched a no-hitter, and the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox 1-0. I was too young at that time to know or care, but I’ll bet my Mom was listening as she accomplished her usual homemaking chores.
On Friday, April 19th, the Board of Education appointed W. J. Moore the new Superintendent of Girard Schools. He had only been hired as Principal of the ighHH H High School a year earlier, coming to Girard from Orville. He and his family had immediately become members of our church upon moving here. He would remain Superintendent of Girard schools until his retirement many years later.
On Sunday, the 21st, Rev. Hilberry preached on “What Constitutes a Good Church?” and the following Sunday, April 28th, he preached on “Thinking God’s Thoughts”.
Sometimes, as I immerse myself in life as it was lived in Girard seventy-five years ago, I suddenly realize how different our lives are simply by the way I interpret a headline for a news article. It was from the April 26th edition of the Girard News, and it was posted in the “Church News” section of the paper. The headline read: “Demonstration Follows Wesleyan Class Meeting”. My first impulse was, “Whoa! This sounds exciting.” Here is the article: “Thursday evening a covered dish dinner was held in the church dining room by the Wesleyan Class. Twenty-four attended. Mrs. A. J. Carroll presided during the business meeting, and a brush demonstration followed.”
That was our church family in April of 1940 – seventy-five years ago