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Nancy Lesh

Nancy Lesh
Members' Reflections

When we first came to this Fellowship with two daughters, 3 and 5 years old, the adults met in the old Middletown Township building on Route 413 and the children’s classes were at a private school on Woodbourne Road north of Oxford Valley Mall.  I stayed with our children for a few Sundays, listened to the classes and liked what I heard.  The Fellowship was made up of mostly young families and each parent was expected to teach a minimum of one month.  I even volunteered to teach during the last month of that year.

The annual meeting was held in May, as it still is, but since we were new and were not yet members we didn’t attend the meeting.  That is important to remember because we didn’t actually find out how things worked in this group until the following year.  By then we had signed the membership book and I had taught at least the one month that was expected of every parent.  In the spring the nominating committee asked Bill and I to be on the slate of nominees for RE Chairs.  We didn’t have a DRE.  We were told, “You only have to choose the curricula and get teachers.  It’s not hard.”  At that time the curricula came in boxes that included lesson plans, books with stories and filmstrips.

Bill and I thought about it and talked about this a long time before deciding to agree to put our names on the slate of nominees.  We finally said, “Yes,” after thinking that we were new and hardly anyone knew us. Naturally, whoever was running against us would be elected.   We went to the annual meeting and found out that we were the only people who were nominated.  We were it!  

At the end of the May that year the outgoing RE Chairs handed over the materials to us and we took everything home.  This included the RE kits and two cardboard file boxes of materials.  

I read the various curricula and everything in those file boxes.  I loved it.  It was exciting.  I also learned a lot.  It was definitely what I wanted for my children.

The program evolved.  We got more and better curricula.  We moved so the children and adults could be together in one building.  But then our children graduated and moved away and so did everyone else’s children.  The group got smaller.  It was especially hard to get anyone to be the RE Chairs.  

I knew that what we needed was a Director of Religious Education.  Even though my children were adults I believed so strongly in the necessity of this program that I offered to be the DRE until we could afford to hire someone.

I held that position for several years.  The program grew.  Our numbers increased.  Finally, with over thirty children in the program, we got  a grant from the Joseph Priestly District to help us pay the salary of our first DRE.  This program has continued to grow, to improve, and to be here for you and for your children.  We want all of you to feel that you own this religious education program and this Fellowship so that it continues for another fifty years.