Our family walked the 1½ blocks to church every time the doors opened-the first pastor I remember was Brother W.D. Boswell and he was succeeded by Kirby McGuire. I made my profession of faith on a Sunday night in, I think, 1943. I’ll get this date correct later. Kirby McGuire baptized me on a Sunday night in the warm artesian waters provided by north waco water supply company, (in that section of Waco users had the choice of using city water or North Waco Water Supply). mother and daddy both taught Sunday school and there were always plenty of deacons outside the church smoking cigarettes between sunday school & church each Sunday–daddy among them.
One of the funniest things I ever saw happened in the baptistry of North Waco Baptist Church* (2001 McKenzie Avenue). It was customary to have baptisms on Sunday night and have the choir remain in the choir loft immediately below the baptistry, NWBC had a mission church further out north 19th street in a low-income area & when they had a baptism to perform the would use NWBC baptistry and Kirby McGuire would perform it. One Sunday night I was still in church watching the baptism and daddy had gone outside to smoke and, for some reason, mother went outside as well, the first candidate was a very large woman who came into the baptistry in as ugly a homemade dress as I had ever seen and a bright red bandana around her hair curlers, the preacher said the words and laid this massive figure backwards at which time we all became aware that she was deathly afraid of water, so she struggled and slapped the water straight up with all her might, delivering a pre-shower to everyone within 20 feet, the preacher calmed her and leaned her back again, he discovered that she still wasn’t quite ready when she struck the water with a mightier blow doing more water damage than the first time, by this time the congregation was giggling and I was almost falling out laughing, I was close to the back of the church–so I ran out the back door & told daddy & mother that they just had to see this!
When we got back into church the baptism was still going on and not very well, the choir loft was darkened for the service, but you could see various member creeping quietly down while wiping their faces, arms, etc. with whatever they could find to wipe, in once last final, near fatal attempt, the preacher started her down again and this time she scooped the water (as kids douse each others faces in the pool) and the result was masses of water drenching whatever had not been drenched before, the pastor, counting the job well done closed with a prayer and we all went home laughing
It was in this church that I saw the only “excommunication” I ever saw-actually i believe they called it “withdrawing fellowship”. There was a family named “Deutsch” who had been members for quite a while, they had a daughter named Agatha who was a talented pianist though I’m not sure whether this is part of this story, anyway, all kinds of strife surrounded Mrs. Deutsch, including that she gossiped, I know mother didn’t like her for reasons she never saw fit to disclose I do remember a little about the acrimonious business meeting of the church when fellowship was removed, mother & daddy had little or nothing to do directly with the battle, but it soured their feel for the church, I think.
Shirley and my cousin, Gwen, went through various steps in the girl’s auxiliary (g a’s) & every time there was a ceremony they dressed up in these little costumes and I had to attend, I hated it! Shirley also played the cello during those days and her recitals were more than I could bear so, as I recall mother & daddy mercifully left me at home–sparing me the agony & them the risk of embarrassment that would have resulted from my behavior.
- Waco History Project mentions North Waco Baptist Church in its entry about Benny Green, “The Jewish Santa of North Waco“