I would like to invite you to read with me Parker J. Palmer’s A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. While we are normally concerned with the problems and challenges of the outward life, few resources help us focus on an equally and vitally important priority by seeking to look within. I find this book rightly pinpoints much of our difficulty in living worried, anxious, stressful and often unfulfilled lives as a divided inner self that is uneasy on how to live authentically in healthy community with others.
we'd like to offer some encouragement to care for our mental and emotional health. Over the next few months, we're going to offer a few informational classes on pertinent mental health issues. Each topic will begin with a presentation from a mental health professional from our congregation. These are not group therapy sessions, but we hope you'll find encouragement and some tools to help you along your journey.
Perhaps you've noticed these "Before and After" pictures from the Lexington Herald-Leader showing First Christian Church and First Presbyterian Church in Mayfield, Kentucky. It’s impossible to imagine any greater damage occurring to these beloved sacred places....
Sunday School on March 8, 2020 started out like every week. Jeff always asks for celebrations and concerns. Concerns are usually illnesses and problems, and lots of times celebrations are trips that are coming up. That day, there was lots of talk about the upcoming SEC basketball tournament. UK had a great team and was expected to go far in the tourney. A few in the class were planning on making the trip to Nashville to watch the games. At that time, COVID was something we’d heard about, and it was a little worrisome, but hadn’t affected life in KY much, if at all. Jeff, though, cautioned us all to be very careful. Should we go? Well, if you do, be VERY careful. Even if you’re healthy, be careful.
August 1, and now an almost empty sanctuary, at last and again, my fumbling along the rows of oaken pews creating slight echoes inside gathered silences. Here it was, my accustomed place to sit, after a seventeen month long closing of the sanctuary due to the threats and wretched triumphs of Covid spreading and reaching and gaining among the people across the country and world. Death and Fear and ever more Death haunted our days. And now and here—here in this place, now again my place—I sat and waited and closed my eyes, and it all began to seem again like a quiet and very real welcoming.
A Pandemic Poem from Gwen Hart...
It was March of 2020
When Covid made the scene
This won’t last long, I thought to myself,
And we can get back to a normal routine
I’d just retired (in the nick of time)
As things came to a screeching halt
Businesses closing, except essentials
Finger-pointing looking for fault
Having worked in hospitality for so many years
Ensuring everything was just so,
All the sudden I had time on my hands
But there was no place to go!
May 9, 2021 was the Mother’s Day observance at Central. Rev. Carol Devine was the guest preacher and Dave and I tuned in virtually from our family room as we’d done since Covid shuttered the doors of Central. Our dog Toby assumed his position on the back of the love seat and promptly went to sleep. Dave and I took our seats, coffee in hand, as had become our custom. After the opening remarks, hymn singing and scripture reading Raleigh introduced a video presentation. His idea for the presentation was realized in collaboration with Kim Kincaid, Aaron Austin and Sally Horowitz. Raleigh explained that in the video he and Kim would sing the vocals to “Cool of the Day” accompanied by a montage of Sally’s nature photography. Aaron was tasked with syncing the music to the pictures. I wasn’t familiar with the song but knowing how talented all these folks are I knew we were in for a treat. I wasn’t prepared for what I heard and saw.
The New Wineskins Sunday School class began a weekly Zoom class on Sunday, September 6, 2020. We met at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday thereafter. Thanks to the enterprise and hard work of Pat Payne we were able to stay connected each week.
It was March 11, 2020, and I was sitting in a business meeting in the CBC sanctuary, looking forward to choir rehearsal afterwards. I knew that the governor had that afternoon asked churches to strongly consider canceling services because of the rising number of cases of Covid-19, and figured we might have some weeks without church ahead of us. I was glad we at least would be having choir. Wrong. The staff and those present thought it best to go home then, at the conclusion of the business meeting, with an uncertain future ahead.
Our church has been through many challenges over our 70 plus year history and none of them have been any more challenging that these past 16 months. The necessary management and precautions to fight community spread of the dangerous COVID-19 has called forth all the skill, patience, cooperation and Christ-like encouragement that has guided our church so well through these many past few years. I am truly proud of each of you, our excellent leaders and exceptional staff and the way we have continued to be the church during these challenging times.