What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tavares FUMC--The Way I Remember It!

"I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.'" Psalm 122:1

What a thrill when my good friend Rhonda Harris Hoffman notified me that the new Tavares FUMC website was ready to roll...(www.fumctavares.com/)  and that there would be a link to my blog included on the website! Wow! I feel extremely  humbled to have this opportunity to connect with some of my old friends and earliest childhood church memories! Thank you...and welcome to my "open window"...a place of hope, encouragement, and adventure as we journey down the pathway from "closed doors" to enjoy the new opportunities God places in our pathway.  I hope you will take the time to go back to the beginning of this blog and follow the trail of mixed blessings and fears, failures and triumphs, and adventures from the past and side-trips in the present. Perhaps it will help to conjure up some of your own special memories from your childhood...and be an invitation for you to share your own vista from the "Closed Doors and Open Windows" of your life with others.  I look forward to sharing this time with you!

The picture of Jesus and the Lambs I have included above represents to me one of my fondest memories of the old First Methodist Church building that I remember best.  Although this picture of a stained glass window is not one of the windows from that original building, it is the closest depiction of that window I have ever seen. When I found this little postcard it brought back such sweet memories of Sunday morning services as a child, gazing up into the serene face of Jesus as He cradled the lamb in His arms and carried it to a place of safety.  I can honestly say that this was the first impression of Jesus that I can remember...and it has often given me comfort.  As a matter of fact, it was this vision of Christ that came to my heart this past week as I wrote in a previous blog entitled, "My Father's Cane", which was written about my father, Bill Mursch, whom many of you will know and remember from his days as a former member of Tavares FUMC. As a matter of fact, we held his memorial service in your current beautiful sanctuary just a very short time ago.   http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-fathers-cane.html

If anyone has any good color photographs of those beautiful stained glass windows from the old original church, I would love to have a copy.  I know we all mourned the loss of those magnificent windows when the former "new church" was so tragically lost to fire several years ago. As I recall, the other window was of the "Ascension of Christ" up into the clouds... (see Acts 1: 9-11) and I often pondered over that vision so many times in my childhood and youth...wondering just what it would be like to be "caught up into the clouds" with Jesus someday...a day which could be closer than we think. 

Rev. Ed Montfort - 1960
Steve Sperry in front of Chapel at MYF Camp -1965

I wonder if we truly realize the impression and impact such things as stained glass windows, peaceful sanctuaries, sacred hymns, an open Bible, a welcoming hug from a Sunday School teacher on an early Sunday morning, and a word spoken in truth and love from a dedicated Pastor may have on a young impressionable child. 

I still remember the pastors of my childhood and youth from the Tavares church...Pastor Ed Montfort, Rev. Dick Knight, and Pastor Randall Parsons.  They each played a significant part in my life...Pastor Montfort took me through confirmation and pronounced me a member of the church at the tender age of ten.  Rev. Knight encouraged our youth group and inspired us to reach out to our friends and invite them to MYF and to go to the MYF Camp in Leesburg. (of which I later became a summer youth counselor...my first "job"!)

Rev. Dick Knight - 1965  and
to the right....at my sister Doris'
wedding in 1966-----

And then of course, Rev. Randall Parsons...came along in time to encourage me in my walk with Christ as a young woman preparing for marriage...and actually performed our wedding ceremony in the  "new church building" in 1969. (Our wedding was actually the 2nd wedding performed in that "new" building! We were beat out by one week...I believe it was by Margaret Marks and AdrianTrump!)

Our wedding, Aug. 16, 1969- Rev. Randall Parsons on far right with
Organist Louise Caldwell on far left, and soloist, Carolyn Parsons (Campbell) next to her!

Thank you to Mrs. Bunny Rapalje for her faithful picture taking of almost every event of my life!!! Perhaps you will find yourself or one of your friends in some of these classic vintage pictures!  (Click on individual pictures to enlarge for viewing, then back arrow to return to blog)
VBS 1957
VBS - 1958
I have so many other memories...memories of Vacation Bible Schools...   and Sunday School classes and my efforts to earn my "perfect attendance" pins each year... My Sunday School teachers that I can remember were: Miss Marion Duncan, Mrs. Virginia Duncan, Mrs. Peggy Matthias...and I am sure there were a lot more. 
Sunday School 1957
Easter 1957

Easter Sundays with our funny little flowered hats, stiff petticoat dresses and new white patent leather shoes...

Children's Choir - 1958

And then there was the wonderful Children's Choir directed by Mrs. Venona Jones, a retired preacher's wife.

Yes, these are just a few of my precious childhood memories from being a part of the First United Methodist Church of Tavares.  There are so many other thoughts, images, and convictions that became a part of my spiritual make-up as a result of these early positive influences.  Perhaps I will share some more thoughts about this in future blogs. 

You see, one cannot simply sum up early Christian teaching in just one blog.  My life was so impacted by the people, the music, the preaching, the teaching, the youth groups, the Sunday School classes, the Vacation Bible Schools...that I went on to become a preacher's wife myself!  So much of what I learned at Tavares Methodist Church became an integral part of my spiritual growth and development...and God took those seeds, planted and caused them to grow and blossom into mature Christianity...a way of life and a Christ-centered relationship that I have shared with so many others throughout the years...only God knows for certain what impact and how far reaching those early impressions have made on the lives of those with whom I have been privileged to know.

Thank you, Members of Tavares First United Methodist Church, both old and new, for your part in the transformation of my life!  And thank you, Rhonda and the team of webmasters for your new website, for inviting me to be a part of your new webpage via this link.  I look forward to renewing old friendships and making new ones throught this "open window".  I hope you will join me!

May God continue to richly bless your church as it continues to follow in the footsteps of Jesus...the "Church at the Crossroads where the Cross Lights the Way..." (or something to that effect I recall was the theme when the church moved to its present location) 

Sincerely in Christ,


Pamela Mursch Steiner


  1. Those windows were always an inspiration to me too! I loved looking at them during the services. They made Jesus seem so real and present for me! Art and I were married in that original church, by Rev. Richard Knight. I have many wonderful memories of that church and it's people!

  2. Hi Sis! Glad you found this...I just added your wedding picture above as well, to give a better picture of Rev. Knight and other happy people! Can you imagine what our life would have been like if we had never been a part of this church and community?

  3. Pam, what a wonderful walk down "Memory Lane." Your God given gift of writing, documenting, dating, saving (hoarding) and preserving all these priceless momentos has been a blessing to us all. Tavares First UMC is proud to provide a link to your amazing blog. Congratulations on sucessfully pursuing your dream of writing. I look forward to many more post from my childhood friend. Love you always, R

  4. Dear Rhonda...Thank you for your thoughts and words of encouragement...and for making it possible for me to share these memories with our "old friends". I am looking forward to looking further into the "looking glass" of "Memory Lane" and pulling up more special moments in time with you. I've been away from Tavares FUMC for almost 42 years...and yet it still seems like "home".


Thank you for visiting here today. I would love for you to sign my guestbook and let me know you stopped by. I always enjoy reading your comments and words of encouragement! May you be blessed as you go on your way. Please come back and visit again soon.