Patch the Pirate

Growing up in church, I participated in a variety of children’s programs. I loved them all, but perhaps my favorite program was my first program – “Patch the Pirate Club”! This club was organized around songs, games, stories/lessons, and an awesome uniform that included a white sailor’s hat and a crisp red sailor’s sash. Man alive, I truly felt like a pirate wearing that uniform as a kid! Such fun memories were made during my time in Patch the Pirate Club as I learned much about God and His Word…

Yesterday, I learned that the visionary behind Patch the Pirate Club, Ron Hamilton, had passed away into Glory. He was just 72 years old. This singer, songwriter, pastor, and leader will be missed by so many people, not the least of which is his beloved wife and five kids. He truly left an indelible mark in this world. He inspired generations of young people to know, love, and serve the Lord. He will be missed!

As a young child, I grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and attended Tabernacle Baptist Church. That’s where I was first introduced to Ron Hamilton’s Patch the Pirate Club. And I remember that one of the very first songs that we memorized together as a club was the song, “Rejoice in the Lord”. The memory of singing this song in front of the church congregation is burned into my brain because I remember seeing so many older adults shedding tears as all of us young kids sang the following words…

“God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man
Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long
In darkness He giveth a song

O Rejoice in the Lord
He makes no mistake
He knoweth the end of each path that I take
For when I am tried
And purified
I shall come forth as gold”

I confess that I barely understood the words of this song as I sang them at the age of 6 or 7, but there were some older saints in that congregation, on that one Sunday morning, that felt, understood, and believed those words. It sparked hope in their hearts; and the tears on their face were a visible expression of that hope. I look back at this memory and smile. This song was true back in the 90’s when I sang it, and it’s true now in 2023. Ron is now in the presence of His Savior. His testing is done. His darkness is gone. He rejoiced in the Lord in this life, and he will forever rejoice before the Lord in his new life with the Lord. But as you and I carry on down here, in this sometimes-heavy life under the sun, may we all continue to sing: “O rejoice in the Lord. He makes no mistake. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when I am tried, and purified, I shall come forth as gold.”

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