Being the Church: Sharing Stories

Most every Sunday morning you’ll find Mr. Ed sitting about five pews back on the right-hand side of the sanctuary. He may have arrived at church alone, but his favorite pew is frequently visited by some of the youngest members of our congregation—which is a highlight of his week:

“I love the kids here. The most exciting thing for me is to come on Sunday morning and see the kids,” Mr. Ed said.

Ed enjoys seeing the kids, but he equally enjoys hearing their stories and they like hearing his too. Swim meets, sleepovers with friends, what’s happening at school—no matter the subject Mr. Ed listens and cares.

Sit with Ed for a few minutes and it doesn’t take long to discover that he is a man of many stories about his fascinating life—filled with tidbits about growing up in Washington, D.C., traveling the United States serving in the U.S. Air Force and the changes he has seen in the Andrew Chapel neighborhood where he’s lived since the 1960s.

Ed is known for sharing his stories, but he’s also known for sharing his love for collecting currency. His collection really took off when he set up a shoeshine stand outside of Union Station during World War II. He visited with transient GI’s, gave them a quick tour of the city, shined their shoes and then sent them back to the station toward their destination. Many of those men left coins from their travels as a token of gratitude for his time and with that a life-long hobby began.

Today, he passes on this favored hobby by occasionally sharing a $2 bill with a budding young collector just for the joy of seeing their face light up with wonder. Seeing the kids on Sunday morning may be the highlight of his week, but it’s obvious that the joy truly goes both ways. Over the years Mr. Ed has been known as “the candy man” who dropped off candy to Sunday School classrooms and “the cookie man” because he enjoys bringing a plate or two of cookies for sharing in the lobby before service.

When a group of kids were asked during children’s moment in worship to share their favorite part of church, one little voice happily piped up “My friend Ed!”

Friends who listen to one another and share the stories of their lives from both ends of the age spectrum, that’s being the church at Andrew Chapel.