We’ve definitely shifted into early fall mode, haven’t we? The sun is warm, but it’s softer than it was even a week ago– just in time for Labor Day! Do you have special plans for the weekend? I think I may try to take a nap out on my back porch on Monday. That sounds luxurious!
This has been an exceptionally busy week at church! The Head Start teachers are back in the building gearing up for the start of the school year, and for the first time in 6 months the tai chi classes offered through Trillium resumed meeting. In order to meet the new safety standards for such gatherings, the building has been buzzing with folks updating the ventilation system, cleaning and disinfecting, and marking the floors with tape (to mark spots 6 feet apart for standing in the fellowship hall and to show class participants the newly-designed directional flow of traffic patterns). If you see our custodian Ron this coming week, let him know that you appreciate the extra effort he’s been putting in these last couple of weeks. He’s gone above and beyond to make sure that our building is as safe as we can possibly make it during the pandemic.
This week the grant writing team also finished writing the 41-page grant application we’ve been working on for a month now, and sent it off to the Northern New York Community Foundation! We won’t hear back until December if we were chosen for some of the $100,000 being offered, but we made a strong case for ourselves. I want to offer a big shout out to Dave Wells, who put serious time into this project, and also to Dale Hobson, Terry de la Vega, and Cynthia Coleman, all of whom added their parts.
Aside from this huge accomplishment, we also had a very successful event out on the south lawn Thursday night. Nearly 100 people showed up with lawn chairs and their masks, and spread out across the yard to listen to Bryan Thompson share his detailed knowledge of the history of the KKK in St. Lawrence County. Right before we started, I walked around to say hello to folks. I saw a number of familiar faces but there were plenty of people who attended whom I did not know– including a number of college students. Everyone seemed to be paying close attention to Bryan’s great storytelling. I for one had no idea there was such a strong Klan presence this far north, or that you had to pay $10 to join (a very large sum of money in those days)!
For those who stayed home and watched the live streaming of the event, over 1,000 people have joined you so far. And for those who weren’t able to tune in but are still interested in listening, the event is archived on our church’s Facebook page. Just scroll down through this week’s posts until you find it.
This coming Thursday, Bryan Thompson and Dr. John Youngblood will return to take up the topic of the Anti-Slavery Society and the Underground Railroad and how those movements also play into our current place in history. Bryan mentioned to me that our congregation helped organize the Anti-Slavery Soceity’s meeting in 1837, and I am eager to hear more about it. If you’d like to join us, we will be gathering at 7:00pm. (This is an earlier start time, changed by the timing of the sunset.) Make sure you bring warm clothes with you, as the temperatures will also be cooling off faster. And again, if you’d rather watch from home, we will be live streaming the event.
And one last note–the nearly-dead (but still grand) maple tree in the front yard of the church will be coming down at some point in the next few weeks. If it has been meaningful to you in some way, now is your chance to give it one final salute, or hug, or bow–however it is you might choose to honor it’s presence with us these past 148 years. And if anyone has any memories related to the maple tree, I’d love for you to share them!
Dear Hearts, I know that the world is topsy turvy right now. If you are like me, you have moments of extra worry, fear, and anxiety mixed in with all of the other things there are to be dealing with. Just getting up in the morning can feel overwhelming some days. Please be gentle with yourself right now. If you need to take a break from the media, or from your life in general, give yourself permission to do so. If you can, get outside and take a walk in the sunshine. Or give someone a call on the telephone that you haven’t heard from in a while. Tell the people who are meaningful to you that you love and appreciate them. And spend some time thinking about and affirming for yourself what your special purpose in life is right now, in this particular time.
And above all, remember that you are loved–loved by the One who created you, and redeems you, and sustains you each and every day.