December 18, 2014

By Fred Koenig

Sometimes the kids can bring the parents to church, even when those kids are adults and no longer live at home. 
    
Mary Jo and Jim Bemke spend Christmas Eve with Jim’s (adult) children at O’Fallon. Part of that tradition is going to Christmas Eve Services at SonRise UMC. A few years ago on the drive home, Mary Jo told her husband that she had something on her mind – how about they try going to the United Methodist Church in their hometown of Hermann? He said he was thinking the same thing. They went there the next day. 
    
Both had not been in church for years. They were each originally Catholic, but were married before, and found the Catholic church to be unwelcoming for people in their second marriage. 
    
“Now we’re very happy to be Methodists,” Mary Jo said. 
    
The couple had previously lived in St. Charles, and had spent their last years there caring for family members in their final stages of life. When that role was over, they retired and moved to a place in the country near Hermann. The person who had built their house had invited them to church. 
    
“We just weren’t ready then,” Mary Jo said. 
    
He was surprised to see them walk in the door four years later. Now Jim serves on the Pastor-Parish Relations committee, and Mary Jo is in the United Methodist Women, on the board of trustees, and is starting an event team to organize fund-raising events.