Pastor puzzles siblings during pandemic with daily riddle

Allison Ward, The Columbus Dispatch on

Published in Religious News

The Rev. Eric Brown really thought he had stumped his six younger siblings on March 29.

“Oh no, they’re not getting this one,” he said confidently and with a chuckle just moments after filming a short video of him asking a daily riddle for the group and sending it to his two brothers and four sisters.

What can you keep after giving it to someone else?

But sister Stephanie Mayfield — who recently earned the nickname “Game Show” for her uncanny ability to solve these daily word puzzles — wasn't about to let big brother get the best of her.

It took her no more than 10 minutes to figure out the correct answer: Your word.

“He was so funny saying, ‘I’m bringing the thunder today,’” Mayfield said, ribbing her eldest sibling in a way that only little sisters can.


And so goes the daily ritual between members of the Brown family.

What started as a silly way for the brothers and sisters to stay connected at the beginning of the pandemic has evolved into a form of sibling rivalry — full of friendly banter and plenty of laughs — to see who can guess the answers to Eric Brown’s riddles first.

Each weekday morning, siblings in Columbus; Huron, Ohio; and Colorado eagerly wait for Brown, a 65-year-old pastor at Woodland Christian Church on the Near East Side, to send his riddle through the video chat app Marco Polo.

“It’s a hoot,” said sister Valerie Whittaker, 56, who lives in Huron in northern Ohio near where the siblings grew up. “I look forward to the riddle each day. Eric will play some music first — it's usually '70s rock and roll or '70s R&B or sometimes it’s gospel.”


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