In 1960, as a young girl of 12, my brother, sister and I were sent to the Pythian Home Orphanage for Children in Clayton.
We Home children attended the Methodist Church every service and occupied the back pews. We were instructed to always go to the front if the minister gave the alter call.
I had a habit of dozing off during the sermons, almost getting whiplash when the minister would slap the pulpit to emphasize a point. I was snoozing one Sunday when I barely heard the words “altar call.” I dutifully jumped up and went to the altar, kneeling on the padded rail and bowing my head. I waited for the rest to follow, but no one showed up beside me. The minister placed a hand on my head and went into a fervent prayer for me and my soul.
Afterward, I grabbed one of the girls and asked what the minister had said when he gave the altar call. She told me that he had asked if there was anyone who had sinned in particular that week and felt the need for special prayer for forgiveness. I slunk out of church with red cheeks that day.
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