Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sunday Night Parties

Old Church Building
Where the Dances Were Held Until 1999
Our church had dances every Sunday night during the school year that we called the Sunday Night Party. There were several bands, made up of teenage boys and adult men. The bands were good - they played old Rock and Roll and Country music.

Girls had to be thirteen to dance and boys had to be fourteen. At the dances, the girls would stand in one corner, the boys would stand or sit opposite the girls. Boys would come and tap a girl on the shoulder by way of asking her to dance.

Once or twice a year the twelve-year-old girls and thirteen-year-old boys would be invited to dance lessons in the old church building. When I was there, dances were held in the old church - they are now held in the back of the new church sanctuary - an addition was added to the back of the church about the time I left church (late 1999-early 2000) because the fire code did not allow for the amount of people who crowded into the old building for special occasions.

Front of the New Building

Every other Friday night, year round, young virginal couples could marry at church and a dance would follow the wedding. Nearly every special occasion featured a dance as well: Halloween (with full costumes), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years (all night until 6:00am), Valentine's Day, Easter, and our own version of Prom. The special occasion and weddings were events that often included dates afterward. Boys would also ask girls out for "carloads" after the Sunday night parties - where a group of kids would go down to Shari's and eat snacks or dessert.

For a while I loved the Sunday Night Parties, for the first few years. But as I got older, I came to hate them. I hated waiting around for a boy to ask me to dance. I hated that when the band would call out "Ladies' Choice" the boys would go outside to smoke. I hated getting dressed up only to be rejected. I especially disliked the expectation that I would continue to go to these teenage events after I was eighteen, nineteen, twenty. There was just no place to fit in for a young adult who was not married or engaged.
Back of the New Building
Where the Dances are Now Held
In the Idaho FOC, there are no dances. Couples do not even get married at church. Most of the members do not believe dancing is an appropriate activity - quite the difference considering the Oregon City group originated in Idaho. The young adults in Idaho do socialize with each other, but the church doesn't keep them nearly as organized and scheduled as in Oregon City. I'm told they also associate with people from outside the church and can marry whomever they choose. 


  1. Wow marry outside the church , that sounds nice . I for awhile liked the Sunday night parties . Getting dressed up hair , heels , and dancing .I had boys ask me forawhile to dance , then it seemed like I was dancing more with girls . And the afterwards carloads , didn't happen for me ! I usually ended up going home , unless I drove myself and a few of the other girls that didn't get asked either . By 17 I didn't care for them , if your not married by 17 your treading close to old lady age and really don't fit in . I quit going to them it was less heart breaking watching and hearing where everyone else was going and me going home . So I became very close with my dad hanging out watching tv with him ... I miss dancing I loved it soo .. The music was always good . Yes I am an ex member . I did get married later in my age ( considered old for there standards) and started a life of more misery ! Misery I don't care to share , it's still to this day very painful. Your teenage life there has alot to do with how you treat yourself today . The teenage were not very nice to me . (some not all , but enough ) I had more guy friends at school out of the church and they did not approve of that . To this day I wish I would have excepted a marriage proposal my junior year from outside the church . My life would complete if I had ! There's alot of good from growing up as a teenager in the church , but there's also alot of regrets , sadness and what-if's .

  2. Dear Anonymous, I'm an outsider, but I have to sympathize with your story, because I felt the same way at that age with school dances and such. There's no guarantee that your life would have been complete if you had accepted a proposal from an outsider. It may have been your good fortune that you turned him down. Life isn't easy for any of us; marriage is always a leap of faith, and taking that leap with someone who has no faith, or no conception of your faith, or a faith that conflicts with everything that you were raised to believe - that can be likened to a game of Russian Roulette, but there's a bullet in almost every chamber.

  3. Dear unknown ? Thank you for your response . Yes marriage is a leap of faith. But he was no stranger to it , he is a religious man . But everything happens for a reason ! Sometimes reasons that are hard to understand . Being there after the last preacher died and having no teaching leaves a feeling of unknown , of what if , and if course why ??? I just wanted love , family , church and teaching ! There's no teaching , if there had been I believe I wouldn't of lost everything dear to me ! All I've got is my memories my what if's , my loves that touched me and will have a special place in my heart . I put my entire life in gods hands ,and pray for myself and the church that all will come together someday ! And wether there old loves , past loves , or present or even re-aquinted loves , I will never lose hope ! Thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom ! They've touched me more than you'll ever realize !

    1. I don't know how old you are, but I'm in my 50's, a time in which a person does a lot of juggling of memories and what-ifs and if-onlys. Like you, I wanted to know what was right, and was willing to be taught, and I wanted a husband, children, friends, church and community. Like you, along the way I've lost everything that I ever loved, and have surrendered myself and my life to the will of God, whatever that may be.
      Your words are the very soul of why I feel such love and compassion for the FOC. Like a tree, you have grown tall and straight in spite of difficulties and disappointments, and are bearing the fruit of the spirit, and especially since, unlike many of her members, you aren't reacting out of pain and fear, but are bearing love.
      The bible tells us that God *IS* love, and as such, in holding love so close to your heart, God is within you, and He is showing Himself through your beautiful soul.
      And thank you for the compliment, but if I am wise at all, it requires the heart and eyes of wisdom to recognize and understand.
      May God bless you, and please accept a virtual hug via cyberspace from a humble outsider. :)

  4. i loved those sunday night dances. the friday and saturday night gatherings as well. i had brothers and could count on one of them dancing with me or including me in the carload. it was easy for me to talk to the guys my age because of my brothers. i am not a member of the church any longer but the teenage years while tough are memorable. i felt connected to the kids my age.

  5. I think there should be dances and safe places for all teens to gather and do fun safe activities. we need that instead of video games, t.v., and drugs..

  6. Although there are things I cannot agree with from the FOC church, the idea of community and family togetherness is a wonderful thing! To be taught to be there for each other and spend quality time together is a concept that all churches and all people could benefit from.

  7. child of God, I agree with you. I think if we built up families and communities we would be going in the right direction to a better world.

  8. There were several Sunday night parties I didn't dance. And what if that guy I tried hiding from wanted to dance with me?? How silly I was back then, to not see God's plan sooner...that the guy I hid from would be my best friend and the father of my children!


The catchpa has been removed to enable easier commenting. Spam and irrelevant comments will be deleted.