a column dedicated to the folks in the pews
Written by Dale Buchanan
I expected the interview to be the most difficult part of this weekly column about those who occupy and labor from the pews at the Big Red Church. Surprisingly, it has not worked out that way. No one has refused me an interview, and everyone has been more than gracious as I stumbled along asking questions. I have no experience as a journalist, but these folks love their ministries and seem more than happy to share the details with me.
On Sunday afternoon, May 6th, I hesitantly approached Michelle Krenz. She and a couple of other women were engaged in animated conversation. I finally got up the courage to insert myself into their lively discussion. To my surprise, Michelle excused herself from her friends and asked, “When?” I replied, “Now!” We found a quiet corner in the fellowship hall, and it was off to the races. We laughed and shared church stories for a good part of an hour.
There was no small talk or icebreaking. This woman went straight to the point. “Okay, Dale, what do you want to talk about?” I told her I would ask a question and let her just take off with it. The first question on my little script was, “Where were you born?” Alexander, Kentucky, was her answer. That was the last of my formal questions. She just took off with her story.
Michelle’s dad was a minister and her mom was a teacher, and as we talked it became obvious that her life revolved around home and church. Her mother is Judy Frost. Her dad’s name was Abner Frost and his nickname was Frosty. He was the first Protestant chaplain at St. Agnes Hospital. Her family moved to Fresno when Michelle was 13 years old, and she joined the Big Red Church at age 16. She has been married to Tom for 25 years and their marriage has been blessed with two children: Adam and Olivia.
Among other things, Michelle taught Sunday school for 15 years, was a youth leader, and has been involved in summer church camp forever. In passing she mentioned that she has for many years prepared the bread for communion. This tidbit delighted me because one of my favorite memories as a child is waking on Sunday mornings to the sounds of my mother preparing the bread for communion service at our little church.
I finally asked Michelle what her hobbies were. She looked surprised and said, “That’s what we have been talking about.” I persisted with, “But I am asking what you do for yourself?” Her answer: being the camp lady and baking bread for communion.
Dale Buchanan is a member of FCCF with a passion for stories and writing. In between penning his own memoirs, he is helping us get to know our members, one pew at a time.