Raleigh has announced his retirement as our Minister of Worship on June 12. We are filled with mixed emotions, happy to celebrate this milestone in Raleigh’s life, grateful for his excellent caring ministry to our congregation for over 3 decades and saddened to anticipate a future without this caring and steady presence. Raleigh has strongly built upon our reputation as a church offering a high quality of musical excellence respectfully honoring the many forms of gospel, traditional and classical styles that many congregations have more recently forgotten. While we know replacing Raleigh is an impossibility, the commitment to a continued excellence with our choir and Mark de Alba remains our priority as we seek to plan ahead.
In last week’s special called business meeting, the church unanimously approved the motion to enter int o a three year lease agreement with the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. They will be leaving their presence at Georgetown College and will move the work they did there to our facility.
We have designated 7 rooms for them that will serve for administrative and faculty offices along with shared space agreements for other functions including classroom instruction. They will mainly be using the dedicated entrance once used by the Childcare with occupancy scheduled to mid-summer.
We had a great discussion with Laura Hartman, Family Resource Director at Squires Elementary. We've been working with Laura for several years to help supply food bags to children and families, and we're currently taking food donations to help out with food bags through the end of the year.
For book group this month, please join me in exploring a few short stories by Karen Blixen, who primarily wrote using the nom de plume Isak Dinesen. We’ll be considering her book Anecdotes of Destiny. I’d love to see what you think. Honestly, I’m curious to see what I think so many years after I first encountered Blixen’s work, and I can’t wait to hear other folks’ viewpoints as we discuss some fantastical, strange, and also dated stories. That said, I can’t look away.
Happy feet like to dance. Happy hands applaud. Happy faces wear happy smiles. But everything over these past two challenging years has not been particularly happy. A world-impacting pandemic has outfitted us with lead boots and handcuffs. Even if we felt like smiling, few might notice while we cooperated, as was necessary, with the simple courtesy of wearing a mask during such a time of trial and testing.
At our first Community Connections meeting, we had an enlightening discussion with Dr. Deborah Alexander about her current work with Afghan refugees in our community. Dr. Alexander is uniquely qualified from her own experience as one of the first civilians to enter Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks.
This month we're reading Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue. For me this book is like a deep cleansing breath. O’Donohue’s lyrical prose is something to be sensed and felt as much as understood—after all, he was also a poet. There is a lovely discussion of these themes with the author that was my introduction to O'Donohue and this work at On Being with Krista Tippett.
Our hearts continue to turn to the needs and sufferings of the people from Ukraine. We often don’t know what to do beyond our shared sorrow and frequent prayers. A recent conversation with my friend and Kentucky pastor, Roger Jasper offered me some consolation. Some of you might recognize Roger's last name by way of his mother, Scarlette Jasper. She is the person we have partnered with and supported through the excellent care and compassion she offers to the needs of Eastern Kentucky with Together for Hope.
During this season of Lent, we hope you will join us for worship as we encounter familiar texts from women's perspectives.
At the end of the Summer in 2021, Hebrew Scholar Dr. Wilda Gafney offered the church a new lectionary for consideration. The “Woman’s Lectionary For The Whole Church” is a new resource she has developed for congregational use in addition to the Revised Common Lectionary that has been in use for over 70 years by mainline congregations. Her new work invites churches to consider many of our familiar Biblical texts from the perspective of women.
While we watched with much of the world, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the Russian advancement on Ukraine, we are deeply saddened at the needless violence and loss of life. We join with people of faith around the world in prayer for peace in Ukraine. This prayer from the Week of Compassion, the Disciples of Christ global relief ministry is a good place to begin when it's difficult to find words for such tragic and senseless events.