Join the church? Well . . .

Attenders, not members
Decades ago, Dorothy E. Payton and her husband moved with their young children to a small prairie town in Montana. Although a devoted Methodist, Dorothy and her husband attended a United Church of Christ congregation. The only alternatives in town were Missouri Synod Lutheran and Catholic churches.

“My husband and I did not join the UCC, though our children were confirmed in the church,” she said. Later, the congregation of fewer than 50 members was warm and caring toward her upon the untimely death of her husband. As years passed, she served as deaconess and church historian. She wrote for the newsletter and helped decorate the church every holiday.

Thirty-five years after she first became active in the church, she actually became a member. It was, she wrote in 2003 in a column for the UCC Web site, “a very happy ending to this story.”

Not many churchgoers take that long to join.


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