April 18, 2017

Thinking about joining a small group or Sunday School class at St. Luke’s? That decision could bless you for years to come.

Just ask the “Wedding Ring Class.” They felt blessed – and blessed so many others – for 66 ½ years.

“The members are all very supportive of one another,” class founder Marvin Schlegel said. “That’s what really made the difference. That started at the beginning of the class.”

The beginning of the Wedding Ring Class was in September of 1950. Harry Truman was President. A gallon of gas cost 18 cents. And St. Luke’s was about to start the second half of the 20th century with a new group of “saints” on whose shoulders the church now stands.

But last month, six and a half decades later, the group held its final farewell at Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler on Britton Road. There was a sense of sadness in the room, but also a calm satisfaction of knowing what they had accomplished.

“This class has been quite a work force,” said Jim Litton, a relative latecomer to the class. He joined in 1953 – right after getting married. “The class has always been one that, if the church needed something done, we did it. Our members have been on the church board and in leadership roles ever since I can remember.”

It also wasn’t enough for Wedding Ring Class members to decorate the church for holidays or meet up for potluck dinner parties every month. They decided to make a real difference at St. Luke’s – such as raising money to purchase Bibles for children and delivering food.

“We had ‘Meals On Wheels’ before it was common,” Schlegel said. “Whenever there was anyone ill in our class and they came home, somebody brought the meat – somebody brought the vegetables.”

Irlene Lee said for so many members, friendships developed into family. “They seem to hang on to each other, you know?”

“I have watched members of the Wedding Ring Class celebrate and have fun together in life’s joyous moments, and cry and mourn together in the darkest times,” Dr. Bob Long said. “No matter what they experienced, they knew they had a group to turn to for support, encouragement and prayer.

“They leave behind a legacy of not only serving others, but supporting the ministries of the church and actively seeking needs that they could meet to serve others and share God’s love.”

Rev. Phil Greenwald expressed St. Luke’s gratitude to the class. “The church will only live on as long as we pass along our faith,” he said. “I just want to say ‘thank you’ for passing on the faith that has lived in you to so many who now carry on the ministry of the church in such wonderful ways.”
Schlegel said he hopes the Wedding Ring Class’s incredible track record will inspire today’s Sunday School classes and small groups to become more involved in serving the community and the church.

“We thought it was part of growing in the faith.”