When Rick and I stopped to ponder “why do we choose to give to our church,” we both had the same response. Why would we not give when we have been given so much?
Like many of River Road’s members, Rick and I are children of the church. Neither of us remembers “church” as anywhere but at the corner of River and Ridge Roads. Growing up at River Road meant coming to Sunday School each week with a nickel in hand to place in the offering basket, practicing on Wednesday afternoons with the children’s choir and wearing those pretty red robes when we sang on Sunday morning. We came to Vacation Bible School each summer where we met in the basement of the Chapel and made birdhouses for Dad and silver jewelry chests (cigar boxes decorated with macaroni) for Mom. And just as it is done today, we received our very own Bibles in third grade, and Rick and I both still hold on to those. Deciding to be baptized was a grown-up decision, but the child in us loved that we got to wear shorts under our robes and Mr. Hasty wore his hip waders in the baptismal. And then as youth at River Road Church, we got to participate in Youth Fellowship each Sunday evening, attend retreats, and participate in mission activities. There are so many faces from those years of church family who worked with us each week to provide instruction and an example of what it was to follow Jesus.
During these early years we dreamed along with the adults who wished to see a beautiful house of worship grace the land between the Chapel and the Fellowship Hall. That dream became a reality as the steeple, with its beautiful cross, was placed atop our church building. We knew that our church family had given sacrificially to offer this beautiful church to God and to provide a place of worship for generations. What a joyful day it was when we “burned the note” of debt years later.
As adults, Rick and I have the privilege of participating in a worship service every single Sunday in one of the most beautiful settings around. We hear amazing sermons and are moved by music that brings me to tears. We find fellowship at the church coffee, at church meetings, with the Joyful Hearts, and with special events.
Rick and I have celebrated or mourned the large events of our lives at River Road. I had the privilege of walking down that beautiful slate aisle when Rick and I were married. I remember holding a squirming baby boy in front of the church when our son was dedicated. I remember the beautiful and comforting words spoken by Jim when my father passed away, and Mike’s loving tribute to my mother at her funeral. It is where we now bring our grandson to learn about what it is to have a church family and to follow Jesus. River Road is our past, present, and future.
For Rick and me, River Road is home—it is family. It is beyond a lifetime of nurturing and love—providing that “spiritual formation” for not only Rick and me, but for our parents, our child, and now our grandson. We can’t imagine ever being any place else. It is a place of hope, love, and faith. We support River Road because we have received blessings beyond measure in this place, and by giving, we hope that in some small way, we are able to pass God’s love and blessing on to someone else.
Written by Mary Beth and Rick Scherer