This was presented on February 3, 2013.
It may seem strange to you that Sally and I are presenting this little talk about life in the DUUC during the seventies, having just received our five-year membership pins a few weeks ago. However, we first joined this church in 1974, and we want to share our memories of congregational life nearly forty years ago.
The property at that time included: the original one-room school house, now the Founders Room; our present sanctuary, built some time before we arrived; and part of the entrance foyer. That's all there was.
The congregation was also very different in 1974. We had about 150 members. Congregational concerns were mainly with money (surprise?) and internal affairs. Church governance was simple. We had only one employee, and relatively few corporate responsibilities. We had a Board, but all major financial, business and policy decisions were made in true democratic fashion - that is, by discussion and vote at congregational meetings. Some of these meetings were exciting affairs, and tempers flared - but the good thing was that after the vote, everyone put away their verbal weapons, picked up their coffee cups and got on with the business of being a loving, caring Church.
One thing that Art felt was missing was a choir. Corinne Kreves, the minister's wife, played very nice piano, but aside from hymns and an occasional solo from a member, there was little music in the Church. Art organized the first DUUC choir, and Sally sang alto. The choir became a regular part of services for many years.
Another legacy that we created was the annual All-Church Campout on our 50 acre property near Newaygo, Michigan, called "Hidden View." The campout was held the second weekend in July, every year beginning in 1976. Camping gear included everything from pup tents to RVs, all welcome. What great times we had: tubing, canoeing, swimming, hiking, tractor rides for kids, cookouts over our big community charcoal grill, evening campfire songfests.
One memorable scene from Hidden View deserves special mention here. Shortly after Kendyl Gibbons began serving as our Minister in 1983, she and her husband, Mark, came to an annual Hidden View campout. They were not seasoned campers, but they had borrowed a tent and some gear for this weekend. That was one of the few nights during which we had serious rain - a real whiz-banger category 7 thunderstorm. Kendyl emerged the next morning, sopping wet, and announced with as much dignity as she could muster, that this was one Church function that was going to have to carry on in the future without her participation. Kendyl was a good sport, and the campouts did, in fact, continue, until 1991.
Art and Sally Freedman