Mt. Pleasant, By Simone

Sitting on the stretched leather

Seat, my feet dangle

My legs precariously close

to the thin metal pipe frames

Cold metal

The narrow radiator is cold too

No warmth comes, despite my staring

20 cents lie in my hand

Ironically warm

And sweaty in my fatigued palm

Can I hold it until offering?

Up and down for hymns

Standing on the chair sometimes to see

To hear the volume of voices

Some in reedy harmony

The heavy based organ bellowing

Clang! The shiny coin has fallen

Against the metal of the chair

I reach down towards the carpet

To retrieve it

And wait again, clutching

For the offering bowl

The Sir and Lady, by Anika.

When I was little my Dad was a preacher at a church in outback Queensland. There was an elderly couple in our congregation who (thought they) were very important, my Dad said. They had been given a special prize by the Queen, the woman on our coins, they’d been knighted. That’s why I should call them “Sir” and “Lady” insisted my father. My brother and I found the Lady and the Sir fascinating. They had funny wobbly turkey necks arching from their chin to their chest, just like a turkey. I was captivated by them, I wanted to get closer to them somehow without getting into trouble.

It would have been an impossible task had I not had my partner in crime: my loyal little brother. One day I dared him to run up to the Sir and touch this mysterious piece of flesh. Lucky he was cute.

Standing on the Pews

Hi there, I’m Anika and this is Standing on the Pews; a collection of people’s early experiences in church, faith and community. Vivid memories of climbing onto the pews to stand as tall as mum to sing the hymns, strange and quirky characters who became Sunday family, navigating spirituality and independent thought as a young adult; this space is a collaboration of unique journeys.

These interviews, stories and poetry have been shared by the Brunswick Uniting Church in Melbourne to celebrate and reflect on the sometimes quaint and fun, sometimes upsetting and reflective moments and memories that were the foundation of our faith and experience of community.