Bud Harold struggles with some of the affects of aging.
But put a hymnal in his hands and it's just like old times.
Harold's daughter, Terri Fisher, explained that her father, 84, has dementia. "This was a good moment. He can sing along," said Fisher.
Harold, Fisher, and a host of others turned out for a Community Hymn Sing held at Hopewell United Methodist Church on Saturday, November 11.
In the spring, Meulenberg, who is part of an area farm family, hosted a hymn sing in his barn. It was so well-received that he decided to take it into the community, and partnered with the church for the event.
"This is a community event. I want all in the community to feel welcome. The old hymns are not sung anymore," said Meulenberg. Who brought a list of some of his favorite hymns but also welcomed requests. He also opened the evening with prayer.
He pre-selected 75 songs in case no one had a request. His list, which included "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven", "To God be the Glory", "It is Well with my Soul", and more. His list wasn't needed. The nearly 60 people in attendance were ready with requests. Meulenberg also included patriotic hymns since the event was held on Veterans Day.
John Holtman, of Quarryville, Pa., provided keyboard accompaniment.
Grove Armstrong, 85, turned out at Hopewell from Bear, Delaware. "I love to sing," said Armstrong.
Hopewell United Methodist Pastor Herb Cain got to spend his evening in church differently. He got to be a participant instead of leading the event.
Pastor Cain explained that it was a welcome change.
"My whole heart has been reaching out to the community. We're out here in the connect. Where do I go to connect with people? We're trying to get to know the community and get the community to know us," said Pastor Cain. He also said hosting the hymn sing gave the church a way to connect with the community.
Carolyn Spencer has been attending Hopewell UMC for years.
She also formerly directed the church choir. "This is amazing. I wish we could do this every Saturday night. It's very good to know that people are enjoying the old hymns," said Spencer.
Alyce Lovelace attends another church but turned out to sing. "I like the fellowship and the singing and being with friends.
Her friend, Marie Janney agreed. "It's the family atmosphere and the music. I grew up singing these songs," said Janney.
In addition to the singing, there was also a social time with snacks and beverages.
The event was so successful that Meulenberg is already planning another. "The purpose of these community events is to share the love of Jesus Christ and to honor him," he said. He also plans to host a hymn sing again at another location in the new year.