In the beginning
It all started in 1970 -- the Youth Club of Orange Presbyterian Church. It met every Wednesday afternoon at the church. And it gave young people (grades 3 through 9) some practical lessons in Christian living.
The weekly schedule included 50 minutes of Bible Study. Then came 50 minutes of supervised activities (sewing, knitting, woodworking, art, guitar). Dinner was served, with an elder or deacon presiding at each table. Recreation followed, and then Junior Choir practice.
In 1972, there were 40 children enrolled in the Club. Each Wednesday the enthusiasm of the children was heartwarming.
The Youth Club started in September and continued through April. Hours were from 4 until 7:30 pm for grades 3 through 8. There was a special class on theology for the 9th graders. The pastor taught this class immediately following supper hour.
Young People's Fellowship
The Junior and Senior High Fellowships were collectively known as the YPF (Young People's Fellowship). They met each Sunday evening at 6:15. The YPF was a combined venture of the St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and Orange Presbyterian Church.
The Juniors studied the Gospel of Luke. And they discussed personal problems with their advisors. The Seniors met with Fred and Lulu Sherman. A “Coffee House” was opened, thanks to a large number of adults from several churches and the Junior Women’s Club. It was in the old Library Building next door to OPC.
The Juniors and Seniors took a trip to Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. They participated in the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. Thanks to the local library, the YPF enjoyed “film fun” time.
The YPF went to movies in Charlottesville. The Senior Youth Group had a Halloween Party for the children of the church.
There were bake sales, visits to the nursing home, and the youth hired themselves out to do yard work. They prepared Thanksgiving baskets for needy families and went on camping trips. There were trips to retreats at Massanetta.
There were hunger walks. These raised money to fight hunger. The first one was 20 miles. Walkers were recruited from more than a dozen churches and several high school and community organizations. About this time, Lynn Clements was President/Advisor of the Senior Youth Group.
In 1976, the Senior YPF engaged in a CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Program) Hunger Fast. Sponsors pledged money for each hour they went without eating. Proceeds went to CROP to alleviate hunger in the world. March 28th, 1982, there was another CROP walk. This time the distance was shortened to 5 miles.
The group delivered 20 Christmas baskets full of fruit, nuts, cake, and candy to elderly and shut-in families on Christmas Eve.
Active in the 1980s
The YPF hosted the Hanover Presbyterian Youth Council in January for two days. Four members attended the Synod Youth Mission Convention at Massanetta in March.
In 1982, the YPF and friends enjoyed skiing on the slopes at Bryce Ski Resort. There was a gathering on Super Bowl Sunday with pizza and friendly wagers.
Sharon Callahan (Mohrmann) was appointed youth delegate to the General Assembly meeting in Columbus, GA. Several members, accompanied by Lynn Clements, attended the Senor High Fall Convention at Camp Hoover.
1983 was the year of a “Lock-In” at the Mechanicsville Presbyterian Church. There were games, music, and dancing. Also, ping pong and two movies. The next morning, everyone traveled home after doughnuts and a short church service.
Contributing to the life of the church
Without the generous gifts of time and talent from many volunteers, this kind of program could not have functioned. In the beginning, Elaine Gardner was the faithful director and administrator. Many wonderful people were involved at one time or another with the children and young people.
“It was a tremendous opportunity for our Church youngsters to be nurtured in the better ways of life.”
- Presbyterian Punch
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team