Lea Banks drove from his Virginia Beach home Saturday morning to visit his boyhood church home, Bethany Christian Church. Annette Hardison Aldridge embraced him shortly after his arrival.
Lea Banks, born in 1923, grew up in the depression. He recalled walking the mile or so from his home north of the crossroads in Arapahoe (Bethany Crossing) to see the electric lights inside the church at night. His home had not yet connected with electric power and was still lighted by lamps.
He said, “Every time I come across that passage in the bible, ‘I am the truth and the light,’ I think about walking from the house to the church just to see the lights in the church. A church represents the worthwhileness of life.”
He wiped away the sadness of the moment with a humorous recollection of communion being prepared using Nugrape soda back in those days. He said that it took two bottles of Nugrape to prepare communion. “I would slip into the church and drink those one or two swallows left over in those bottles after the communion was prepared.”
Recalling the turbulent times of being on a ship in World War II, and then coming home, he said, “For soldiers, church represented some stability in life.”
Members of Bethany Christian Church, after a long week, will maintain the stable tradition of Sunday worship on July 1. Worship will be under the pavilion an hour earlier than usual, but worship will carry on.