January Stress?

I have missed writing, reflecting, and being nourished by the thoughts of others.  It seems that January has been unusually difficult and strained.  Nothing really big — just layers of stressors that feel big as they pile up!  January always begins with a 3 day Commission on Ministry Meeting in another city.  At the end of that same week Saturday was taken up with an Area Board Meeting.  In the midst of it all, my laptop was giving me fits and finally, after way too much time lost, the hard-drive crashed completely.  Of course, it crashed this past Saturday night with sermon and everything for Sunday on it.  AAAAHHHHH!   The long and short of it is that I’ve ended up with a new one (which brings its own stresses as everything needs to be reloaded and this stuff makes me crazy.)

The construction at the church has kept things in chaos there, and I find myself wanting to spend as little time in the building as possible (made more difficult without the laptop up and running).  This past Sunday morning, after my late Saturday night rewriting, I was crabby about the condition of things in the building.  I give thanks for a forgiving congregation.  Maybe they don’t like being in the building right now either; worship attendance has been down.  I suppose it’s cyclical – I need their energy and presence and they need mine but we’re all stressed and have so much going on.

In December, we had a sick dog and and an injured dog.  They are doing much better.  We’ve also had a sick bird — who, indeed, died today.  He was one of our beautiful dear little Gouldian Finches.  This was “John” of “John and Yoko.”  We had known he had a liver problem for quite while and last week was hospitalized, then came home stronger and was able to be back with the flock.  But he was becoming weaker again and the others were picking on him.  I just cried as I held and stroked his soft little body.  He was so very beautiful.  I thanked him for all the beauty he had shared with us and thanked God for creating such a miracle in even the tiny finch.  So, left in the cage are John’s partner Yoko and then Fred and Ginger.  They are all beautiful but tonight I was so aware of missing John’s beautiful red head and yellow breast.

I met with a pastor’s group the other day and a couple of folks were sharing that they almost always dread January; that is always a difficult month.  Hmmm.  Maybe it’s not just me.  I’ll be glad when February arrives!

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Compton Cares Update

Judi has been taking pictures as demolition and construction are beginning at Compton Heights CC.  And she has created a blog to share the progress with friends near and far who are supporting this important step in our ministry.  I’ve added the blog to my blogroll and hope you will follow our progress … and if nearby, come worship with us.  This is an exciting time for others to join us in this ministry in the city.  The blog is:  http://comptoncaresupdate.blogspot.com

We are excited about this new commitment to be a progressive church presence in the St. Louis city.  It is a gift to build a community in mission and celebration in place.  Upcoming events include: September 16 — Homecoming Sunday with Dinner, and compiling Women’s Prison Kits for each inmate at the Vandalia facility.  These will be distributed through the Festival of Sharing.   That weekend will also be the 3rd Anniversary of “Happy Friday”– our outreach on the street each Friday Morning from 6:45-8:00 AM!!    Saturday, September 29, 4:45 — Our Choir will sing in the celebration for the 10th Anniversary of the Garden District.   Friday, October 5, an evening viewing and discussion of the movie “Amistad”.  This is a part of our Reconciliation Ministry to be an anti-racist, pro-reconciling church.   Sunday, October 7 will be a celebration of Reconciliation and World Communion Sunday.  On Sunday, October 21, we will host an ecumenical Children’s Sabbath Worship at 10:30 AM.   And Sunday night, October 28 will be a Halloween themed Game Night in the Fellowship Hall.

So, while we are under construction, we are fully in ministry!  Please visit the Compton Cares Update blog!

Destruction and Construction

Following my somewhat reflective, “isn’t it wonderful” piece on beginning the work toward accessibility …. We’re now 3 days into the process and — all the afore-said still holding — this is the truth of the moment: I’m sitting in my office and the ‘taking apart’ that comes before the ‘building’ is loud and violent sounding. There is a dust that is in everything and on everything and, at least it feels like, through everything! What was the nursery is filled with a pile of rubble and mangled steel. Old bathrooms and kitchenette have been ripped out — none too soon, if you’ve ever been in them, but nonetheless it is shocking to see.

On the east wall of the now rubbled nursery is a bright fun mural of the Noah’s Ark story. This wall will remain and will become the wall of one of the new restrooms and Noah and the animals will be covered over. (At least they’ll be near water!) For now, Noah, Ms. Noah, and the bright happy looking child-friendly beasts (a pair of each) are overseeing the destruction. It seems such a stark constrast, but, then again, that’s what the story is about in the first place: living through destruction with a promise on the other side. It will seem that the known world is ending. Relationships on the boat get tense, to say the least. And when land comes, what resources will they have to continue this new life? What will it be like? Who will join them? Is there anybody out there?! Ahhhh! The Rainbow! The Promise. I need to relax and keep on trusting…