Saturday, November 28, 2009


Thanksgiving was a great day, or should I say, days. A bunch of church people from various churches in Fortuna have been planning with the River Life folks, especially Ginny, to get ready to serve a community dinner and bring in folks who either would have nothing to eat that day at all, or who don't have a community to belong to in that day. It was a week of working together, a week of seeing what this church does best, of people cooking, but also preparing a welcoming feast.
We serve over a hundred people with maybe another fifty dinners going out to people who couldn't make it and more food to those who would take our ample leftovers home.

We had people dressed for a special occasion and some who came as they were, or in what they could find. We had people from around the corner and some bicycling in from Chicago. Everyone was greeted with enthusiasm, served with grace and generosity and sent off with blessings and armloads. Conversations were so engaged that we left our program out completely and just let the wonderful mix of people talk.

Ham and Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, stuffing, drinks and apple and pumpkin pie. Hand-made name tags, and Christmas ornaments crafted by some of the kids.

I was so high coming home I couldn't get my feet to touch the ground. Happy Thanksgiving.

Madonna revisited

It is the third week of November and Madonna is still very present. No comments on the blog but lots flying around the church. A few angry notes and whisperings.

I always like good discussion on topics even, sometimes especially, when they disagree with me and this one has taken on some rather interesting edges. The congregation seems split itself about this. Some hated it. Some disliked it but see the reason for it. Some thought it was inspiring or could be helpful for reaching their kids or grandkids. Reactions all over the map.

The discussion revolves around a few important questions:

What is appropriate in church? And, more specifically, what is appropriate in communicating the gospel?

How do traditions and patterns in the church invite or keep away people who are not now coming to church? This is especially important in two arenas: how does the music we do invite or separate us, how open are we to the language and methods of communicating in the culture around us. Should we be radically different and speak radically different than the culture around us?

All the Saints around Us

First Sunday of November, All Saints Day.  All the ghosts are back in the ground and only the good spirits of love can stay in this celebration of the ones who form our faith.  We think of dead treasured ones, we thing of those who taught us to believe, and the ones that "let the light shine through".  On this day, three of our Stephen's Ministry saints (Linda, Jean and Sharon) shared a bit of their story with us for the sermon.

I have been recording the worship services for a month now.  At some point with a purpose of podcasting the sermon if not the worship service -- can't figure out how to negotiate the privacy issues.  But, we are just now starting to take the DVDs we make to people who couldn't make it to the service.  And, all of a sudden, we become their saints, their contact to the church community with prayers and songs already a weeks past, but still alive and kicking in the minds and hearts of those who now have access to the whole worship service.  The picture is taken for a long way away and that brings some distance, but nearly everyone is amplified in the worship service so the sound is good and clear.

We took communion to homebound this week, an idea gift from Judith in her consultation.

Saints all over the place.  

Moses Dies

On Sunday October 25th we shared in church the end of the Moses series.  Moses dies.  Not so much discussion as story.  I used not only stories from our Biblical record, but also some of the wonderful and touching legends from the traditions of the grandmothers and grandfathers of our faith.  Midrash is the tradition of stories that are passed down.  I found a wonderful book many years ago that follows the Old Testament with many of these stories.  They are from all over the place.  The book is Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg (published in Philadelphia by Jewish Publication Society, 1909)  This volume is just the stories all piled on one another as if it was one story.  There is also a six volume set of books that footnote each of the legends and add some more.  Wonderful resource for getting into the spirit of the very alive book which is our scripture.

Work Day

Turning a big cat box into a memorial garden.  Fluffy dirt, watering pipes, protective cover, some very big rocks and a lot of bending over.

Thank you everyone.