Five Dollars to Attend Church

By Paula Starchefrom paula

In 1991 Abe and Deborah Delgado and their two children moved back to Austin, and I decided that my two sons and I would join them at St. David’s. Besides their friendship, I needed the protection of a larger church where I could blend in every Sunday. At the time just listening to scripture annoyed me, but my family had gone to mass every week, and I believed that it would benefit my sons, so we came. My husband and I made a deal. He took the boys to the grocery store on Saturday mornings, and I took them to church. I had Saturday mornings in a quiet house, and he had Sundays. I let my sons choose between attending Sunday school or the church service, then we stopped at Wendy’s or the cafeteria with the Delgado’s on the way home. For many years my sons chose Sunday school, so I crept into the end of the 9:00 service for communion then went on to adult education.

When they were in their early teens my older son Alex was invited to play guitar in what was later the Bethell service. Being the good mother I am, they got two musicians for the price of one! My younger son Chris began playing bass. One of his friends joined the group and played drums. We still went to Wendy’s after church and one day the manager came up to us and asked where was my third son, the drummer. When I explained, he told me that his father was a pastor and used to pay his children five dollars apiece to go to church every Sunday. I got a big kick out of that! Getting children to go to church through high school was something I understood only too well!I wondered what his father would think about the bass amp Chris and I shared the cost of with the understanding he would keep playing in the service. My share was $400, and I do believe amps are sold by the pound. We lugged that heavy thing up to the church every Sunday morning. Once when we were in the elevator one of the younger kids whispered to his friend “there is the bass player!” Chris and Alex received many adoring looks from the younger children. In the end they both lasted through the ceremony at church at the end of high school when those moving on to other schools are honored. We had made it! By the time my sons finished high school, the wonderful people of St. David’s and the liturgy had entered my heart. We have two fine sons and though no one could prove that coming to church, or half of church, or Sunday school played a role–you know what, I bet it did!

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