The Oysterville Moment

Jul 20, 2011 | 0 comments

Hal’s Vesper Bouquet

     Back in 1978, when my folks conceived the idea of holding summer Sunday afternoon vesper services in the Oysterville Church the planning, organization, and presentation was a team effort.  Mom began the scheduling in January, contacting ministers and musicians and seeing to the printing of the bulletins.  Dad’s part came in summer when each Sunday morning he would sweep out the church, distribute the hymnals onto the pews, and place flower arrangements atop  organ and piano.  Together they handled passing the collection baskets.
     About a half hour before the service they would walk across the street in their “Sunday Best” – which always included a spectacular hat worn by Mom – to be on hand to meet and greet the vesper participants.  Toward the beginning of each service, that Sunday’s minister would call on Mom to say a few words about vespers or about the Oysterville Restoration Foundation (who sponsored the services) or the about the historic church or even about the early days in the village.  Her remarks became known as “The Oysterville Moment” and she was often referred to as “The Queen of Vespers.”  Dad referred to himself as “The Sexton.”
     When, by default (or genetics), I inherited the job, Nyel and I fell into the same division of labor.  And now, fifteen years later, having no one handy to pass the torch to, I’ve been urging the Oysterville Restoration Foundation members and Oysterville residents to pitch in and take a turn each Sunday.  This year Nyel and I have the responsibility for only four services – the other eight are being done by others and all we need to do is go and enjoy!
     What a pleasure it has been to hear other people’s Oysterville memories, to amire their lovely flower arrangements, and watch them struggle with passing those collection baskets.  Last week Diane made all of us laugh when she pointed out that the basket passing pattern is always different and instead of suggesting how it should go, she wanted the congregation to just be creative!
     Usually – but not always – the person responsible for the Oysterville Moment is listed on the bulletin.  I wonder if those who attend the services realize how much more than a ‘moment’ is involved.  Certainly, they can’t imagine how grateful Nyel and I are for our neighbors’ generosity of spirit in volunteering to keep these services going — moment by moment, week by week, summer by summer.

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