I love our church family at Henderson. (Again bringing up my Air Force background) We were very fortunate to be a part of congregations that WERE our family. These church families have molded me into what I am today and, with the exception of the church family from when I was 8 days old-3 years, I have fond recollections for every church family we were a part of during my young life. However, through all of our travels, Henderson was always a constant because that is where Grandmama was. Papa Whittle didn't stay at Henderson until some 10 years ago or so. He would preach for smaller congregations around Henderson to help them, but Grandmama was always at Henderson. I had friends at Henderson even when we did not live here. These friends and I would get together, go to camp together, and stay in touch throughout the year - before email, cell phones and texting.
Therefore, when my family moved back to Henderson (upon all of our retirement from the Air Force), it was moving back home - only this time we would not have to leave for awhile.
One of my favorite days of the year at church is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Classes are cancelled and a devotional is planned in the auditorium. While the devotional is always stellar, it is what I see before, during and after the devotional that is special. I love walking into the auditorium to see who has come home, to see new additions to families (I got to show off our new addition this year!), to see how the little ones have grown and to see the spaces of those who are not with us anymore but are there with us anyways. I love seeing all the families sitting together. There are not teenage rows, senior citizen rows or even families with young children rows. There is the Johnson row, the Bloomingburg row, the Shull row, the McKenzie row, the Whittle row, etc. How special it was this year for the Whittle row to take up 3 rows!!!!! We were all there except Chuck (who we SORELY missed) and it was just so special to see Papa surround by his family!
Again, God knew what He was doing when He gave us - not only a physical family but a spiritual one as well. And how blessed am I to have both intertwine!!!
Carter, Laura Beth, Mary Beth, Andrew and Great Papa Whittle - a Tradition - sitting with Papa on the stage after church.