Background: My name is Bill Kinder, I am presently 69 years old, I’m retired. I worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Food and Inspection program.
Faith: I’m a Christian. I was born a Methodist and baptized a Methodist, then I was a Presbyterian for a while when we moved, that was the closest church to us. Then I moved into the Willow Grove area and I started to go to this Lutheran church.
Aspects of your life which have shaped your faith: Much of what helped shape my faith was my parents. We were very active in the church, meaning that we attended frequently, in fact almost every Sunday. It was Sunday school and church services, I guess from when I was probably about three years old. I can remember that young because I was in the…the Methodist Church in Chester had a wedding, called the Tom Thumb wedding, every year and I was the groom one year and I was three or four years old. I started at a young age and then I always participated in the Sunday schools and in ushering in the church as I got older. It was always with the guidance of my parents. They didn’t force us to go, we wanted to go.
Do you generally feel included with your peers? This is the first church I’ve really felt more included with a congregation than the other churches. The other churches, there weren’t that many kids, children my age at the time. Here being an adult, this church is very inclusive. I go places with them, help around the church, they help me. We all have a goal to make this a better church.
A time when you felt included: The very first Sunday that I came to this church, it was about 10, 11 years ago, we came into the church and the greeters greeted us and at the end of the service we were leaving and one of the greeters came back and said, “I hope you’re coming back next week.” And we said we probably would, didn’t know for sure. When we came back the following week the same greeters were at the door and they were really glad to see us. They were happy we came back. That was really when the inclusion really started.
How did it affect you? It had a very lasting effect, I think of it right now. I always think of Bob Gump and his wife and Joyce, they were the greeters and Joyce always had a smile on her face, was glad to see ya. Bob was always wanting to shake your hand and ask how you were doing and that’s what everyone does here. Everybody is glad to see everybody every Sunday and sometimes they hate to leave Sunday after church is over ‘cause I have to lock up the church and the people want to stay around and talk and that’s what they do.
A time when you felt excluded: Probably that’s happened but it didn’t really affect me in any way ‘cause I’m an outgoing person and I am forceful sometimes and I will dig in and work and do things and force my way into things sometimes, maybe I might be an old boar. I can’t remember people saying, “no, get away” or “we don’t want you Bill.” I never can remember that. All my work and in college…everything, everybody knew that I was always willing to help.
Advice for someone who is feeling excluded: They have to be patient with the people. Sometimes you might have to get down and dirty with them. What they will do, you will do. Just be willing to accept other people themselves, first of all. Let people get the chance to know ya, and give them the opportunity to know ya. Maybe with your actions and your willingness to get along with people, you can change their attitude towards you.
Advice to the people doing the excluding: Change of attitude, mainly. Sometimes people don’t like change in the church, or even in the work place. Sometimes they don’t like a change, so they might want to exclude themselves from everyone else. Always be willing to try and see what happens and if you don’t like the situation, well maybe you can try and have some input towards how you can help out in that way, from being excluded.
One thing to make the world a more inclusive place: Take the time to talk to people. Smile at them. Be willing to help them if they need help. If they don’t need your help, then say, “Ok, but if you ever need it in the future, be sure to call on me. I can help.” I like being with people. If people would respect people, treat people the way you want to be treated…that’s the way I try to guide my life. Treat people the way I want to be treated.
“It had a very lasting effect, I think of it right now. I always think of Bob Gump and his wife and Joyce, they were the greeters, and Joyce always had a smile on her face...”
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"human." is a culmination of the writing, photo, video and design work of Harrison Brink and Alisa Miller. It is meant to act as a forum where we show the vitality of the human spirit through the strife that people face and overcome. If you have any suggestions for the project, please contact us. All input is welcome.