The Church Basement, Southampton, Pennsylvania

We meet at 9:45 a.m. for Adult Sunday School in a small, damp room in the church basement. The room aggravates my mold allergy, and by 10:30 each Sunday, I develop a hacking cough that only subsides when I go home. Outside our room is a small table with sweets and weak, bitter coffee.

Our children are upstairs in a more mold-free environment. They discuss the same Bible lessons as we do, except they get to use crayons and glue sticks. Our study parallels the children’s program so we’ll know what to say—we’ll have the right answers to give them—when they ask us vexing spiritual questions in the car on the way to soccer practice, during their evening baths, or in the dark stillness of bedtime, when they are most vulnerable to loneliness and dread.

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