Eighty years ago a handful of children met under a shady tree on Temple Street, setting down roots that grew into Sarnia’s Bethel Pentecostal Church.
Martin McCabe, 87, was a member of that first Sunday school and he holds the memory dear.
“We sang kid’s choruses and songs,” he said of the gathering, which was started by two women: Edna Ribet and Jessie Leghorn.
There was no building, just the tree under which to gather each week shaded from the sun.
“It was something for little kids to look forward to,” added McCabe, who remembers it began with about half a dozen participants.
A building was acquired a few years later and the tiny Sunday school grew exponentially, eventually moving to a property on London line in the early 1980s.
McCabe still attends, although bustling Bethel Pentecostal looks very different these days. And on Saturday the church will honour its humble origins and 80th anniversary by offering another free event – Family Fun Day.
“This is our ninth year running Family Fun Day,” said Tricia Gibb, one of the organizers.
The day features music, performances, sports and a barbecue, as well as inflatables and a petting zoo.
About 2,500 people attended last year’s event and organizers expect 3,000 to join the fun this time around.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Bethel Fun Day
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 17, 12 noon to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Bethel Pentecostal Church, 1565, London Line.
OTHER: Church parking is limited, so a free shuttle service will be available from Hiawatha Horse Park.