FULTONVILLE - Every other Thursday for the past 11 years, local men have been gathering at McDonald's for coffee, breakfast, jokes - and Bible study.
Lee Kimball of Fonda said the group was started by Wilbur Winsman, now deceased, with the thought of getting men from various churches together in Christian fellowship.
At the gathering Oct. 2, men from Reformed churches in Fonda and Glen, Fonda-Fultonville United Methodist and Amsterdam Orthodox Presbyterian churches were present.
The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen
Lee Kimball of Fonda listens as Alan Taylor of the Glen Reformed Church reads a Bible passage Oct. 2 at the men’s breakfast Bible study at the McDonald’s Restaurant in Fultonville.
"We usually run 14 or 15 men per study," Kimball said. "A few have been here from the beginning with some added later."
At the study Oct. 2, Peter Shortway of West Galway came with a hand-written version of the Chapter 17, Gospel of John text that was the topic of study that day. Shortway's hand-written version was in Greek.
"I translate it to other languages to get a better understanding," Shortway said.
He said he could study a text in any of seven languages.
Alan Taylor of the Glen Reformed Church said many of those in attendance had leadership positions in their home churches. He said he was an elder at his church.
"We started meeting to see why more men don't come to church and how we could get more to come," he said. "We wanted to know why church attendance is down."
Scott Mosher from the Amsterdam Orthodox Presbyterian Church said he has been coming to the study a little over a year.
"Frank Buckner invited me," he said.
Buckner was in attendance eating pancakes and commented on the portion of text they were studying that Jesus was described as raising his eyes to heaven rather than bowing in prayer.
Study leader Chris DeGraaf said participants talked informally about the Bible passage in question and often bring up topics that may not be the focus of typical Bible studies. Interjections from participants during the study underscored DeGraaf's comments.
Ken Noeltner commented on youth discipline with, "Spare the rod and spoil the parents."
When DeGraaf said that belief should change behavior, Shortway commented that "Belief is action."
But first, Shortway said, a person must know the Word of God to know what he or she believes.
Frank Buckner added the comment that colonists had to have faith in coming to the New World.
"The Puritans had to believe to get in the boat," he said.
With comments and remarks like the above, the study progressed. DeGraaf said such comments were typical.
Mosher said he enjoyed the study and was glad to attend when he first moved to the area from California. He said he liked the informal nature of the study.
The men bantered back and forth. DeGraaf joked that Shortway liked to let the others know why they were wrong. Shortway smiled and said that was true.
DeGraaf said the informal study took about 18 months to go through a book of the Bible.
The next breakfast will be 9 a.m. Thursday at Fultonville McDonald's.
For more information call Fonda Reformed Church at 853-3621.
Richard Nilsen is a general assignment reporter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.