I grew up in a loving Baptist family in Small-Town Texas. After college, I came to Houston and joined River Oaks Baptist Church, where I belonged to a singles Sunday School class, until I met my future husband, John. John’s parents had helped start St. Lukes when it was meeting at Lamar High School. I figured there was no way I’d make a Baptist out of him, so the next Sunday after we married, I joined St.Lukes.

We joined the Friendship Class, “young” married, who were mostly graduates of the Brunchers class. (This group of singles was disbanded by Dr. Moore, presumably because they met during the sermon. That’s a shame because it fulfilled a need.) Members of Friendship Class were over 30 and having our first children. I belonged to a group that went out and served, and I gave a ride to a lady who lived on my way to the church. I took my first daughter Heather along, and the lady, in appreciation of the ride, gave me a Christmas ornament of a baby girl wrapped in a bunting, which I still have and hang on my tree every year. Because of that ornament, I have an ornament of little Jennifer, our second daughter, a little redheaded girl with freckles. My Christmas tree now boasts representations of everybody in the family.

I had three failed pregnancies, and after one, Nancy Sims, a member of the Friendship Class came and visited me with Lorianne, her baby. Lorianne and Heather became good friends. Nancy died when her daughters were teenagers, my first experience with the death of a contemporary.

Because of my Baptist beliefs, I couldn’t imagine “having” our daughters baptized, but waited until they were 5 or 6, old enough to know what they were doing. Our daughters grew up in St. Lukes, attending Vacation Bible School, helping Sid Davis start Pure Sound, and doing various service projects with the youth. They told me about a time they were painting a house in one of the wards, and a boy across the street, obviously a resident of the area, kept staring at them. This made them uncomfortable until he came across the street, picked up a brush, and joined them painting. It was about 15 years ago, but I still remember.

I remember when St. Lukes celebrated 50 years of existence, and our class, the Harmony Class was in charge of face painting for an afternoon of fun. John made stencils of things like the Methodist Flame to use. One of the most rewarding things our class did was to deliver altar flowers to people in hospitals or rest homes. When my own father, down from Alvord, Texas, was ill at M.D. Anderson, I couldn’t entice a Baptist minister to visit him, but a minister from St. Lukes came and brought altar flowers. For a year or so, I left the class and played the piano for another class, but I disliked missing my own class.

The Friendship Class dwindled, as members moved away, so we joined the Harmony Class, a discussion class taught by Burr Furlong, and other members, as we chose. John taught many times, and I also. Our discussions were profound and meaningful. This class started with the inception of the church, and eventually, members became incapacitated or died until that class also disintegrated.

I briefly sang in the choir, but the logistics of getting there and filing in eventually proved too much. These days I usually watch the service on television, but every Friday I mentor a student at Sutton Elementary for Kids Hope. This is one of the highlights of my week.

Kaye Hardy