Gerald Hepp's mom got him a toy train set for Christmas in 1945.

Gerald Hepp's mom got him a toy train set for Christmas in 1945.

"When I was a little guy," the 69-year-old Northland resident said last week.

Hepp still has some of the trains from that long-ago gift.

"I kind of kept with it," he said of the model train hobby.

As it turns out, some other members of Maple Grove United Methodist Church in Clintonville, which Hepp attends, have similar fond memories and similar collections of toy train sets from their youth.

As people with a hobby will do, these men gravitated to one another to share their interests and enthusiasms.

"Three years ago we kind of got together and talked about some of that and made available information to other church members," Hepp said. "We decided to see if we could make a display with the idea that a good number of us are senior citizens.

"It's kind of one of those things of enjoying the past."

The third annual "Maple Grove United Methodist Church Toy Train Ministries" display will be on Saturday, Nov. 7.

It will be held in the Fellowship Hall of the Church, 7 W. Henderson Road, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"We are bridging the ages with a common interest to enjoy happy memories associated with toy trains and the holidays of the past," Hepp wrote in announcing this year's display.

The goal of the "ministry," Hepp said, is not so much to proselytize on behalf of the church as promote the hobby. "We'd like to get some young people interested," he said.

"We don't have any particular theme to it," Hepp added. "It's just to get out some of our toy train kinds of things so the kids can get a good look at it and maybe, depending on how things are working, to push the buttons and get the whistle to blow."

There is no charge for admission and there will be no sales of toy trains or equipment, according to Hepp's announcement.

The purpose is simply to bring up some old memories and, just maybe, create some new ones.