Later on, we moved off James Island and lived in the new suburbs nearer to Charleston and my father's work in the Navy Yard. So our church, a new organization, did not have pews. We sat in metal chairs with no padding. In hot weather, we got a chance to experience the torment of that place in which we did not wish to spend eternity. My dad's days of low bowing were ended, and at the evening service the prime job was the elimination of mosquitoes that got their blood meal at our cost.
I had lost my model of devotion and piety. My parents just slumped in prayer, thus parting from the steel backs of the church chairs and getting relief from some of the stickiness they added to worship.
The change in my father's life was wondrous to behold. He became an elder in the congregation after serving for a while as a deacon. Elders were important, and in those days, all male. One Sunday I was absent from church and saw Daddy walking toward me, on his way from church. I was so proud of him.
I am not sure what had happened, but somehow his life of postural devotion had translated into a life of service. He took his responsibilities seriously, and for years I had his Book of Church Order, which he read in his chair many evenings. I have a Bible he owned, and from the markings in it, I know he read from that inexpensive volume from time to time.
Service was his watchword, although unspoken. He even became the designated meat carver for the church, which he did with skill. He was a humble fellow, with some education.
So perhaps, I pledged, again without many words, to follow in his train, as the old hymn puts it. I too became an elder, and then a minister, which we call today a teaching elder. His call was to a devotion of the heart, and soul. Our bare Presbyterian churches proclaimed that devotion too and I hope it is true that I did indeed follow my Dad's pathway of loving service.
Posey is a retired minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)