What a Weekend!

No pictures yet, but we had an amazing Anniversary weekend. Each event got better and better. We began on Friday night with about 90 people gathering at the church for a concert/singalong with Judy Fjell and desserts. We sang, we hugged, we greeted each other, we introduced ourselves, we sang some more. Judy wowed us with some old favorites full of satire and humor and then moved us with newer songs that expressed a deep spiritual side. We laughed and cried. Most of the people who came were out-of-towners and old timers who were eager to see each other again. It was wonderful.

Saturday we had almost 200 people present for wine, hors d’oeurves and a program that included music and gifts and appreciation for many of the “dreamers and doers” over the years. We heard from Resound–our close harmony quartet–then recognized the ministries of Revs. Bill and Barbara Hamilton-Holway, Sue Spencer, Steven Epperson, and (to my surprise!) myself. Each minister got a beautiful painting of the church and had a chance to speak to the crowd. Then we recognized Directors of Religious Education, Presidents of the Board, Charter members and a few other members who had played special roles in the history of the church. Everyone got a gift.

The most amazing part of the night was that ALL the former settled ministers were present and nearly every former president was there as well. This is a congregation that has a very special place in people’s hearts. People traveled from CA, NM, AZ, CO, VA, MA, MT, ID and Vancouver, BC to celebrate with us. (And probably other places I am forgetting!) They were there because they love the church. And when we took up a collection for “seed money” for a campaign to make the building more accessible, we raised over $4000! And then our drummers began drumming and people began dancing and we all went out with joy.

On Sunday, we had an amazing worship service. I can’t really even describe it. The music was phenomenal–weaving together or even inspiring the message of the service in a way that was awesome. Judy Fjell and the choir performed an arrangement of her song “It is Not Enough” that was a soul-force of inspiration. The lyrics:

It is not enough that we are wounded.
And it is not enough that we care.
We are called to practice loving
With a skill we hardly knew was there.

Serving others in gratitude
For the bounty of our lives,
We are called to practice loving
With a skill we do not recognize.

And it is not enough that we are wounded,
And it is not enough that we care.
We are called to practice loving,
With a skill we hardly knew was there.

Replenishing grace in this world,
Quietly we watch it grow.
And we are called to practice loving
With a skill we do not yet know.

Opening to compassion
When our minds would have us hide.
Then the peace that passes all understanding
Heals us–heals us from deep inside.

It is not enough that we are wounded.
And it is not enough that we care.
We are called to practice loving
With a skill we hardly knew was there.

That song became the core of the message and everyone was moved. Rev. Sinkford was moved to throw out the sermon he’d prepared and speak from the heart. And WOW! was his message the right one for the moment. I’ve rarely seen him speak so clearly and powerfully. It was one of those services that knocks your socks off, raises your spirits, and calls each and everyone of us to use our lives in service to the healing that this world so desperately needs.

It wasn’t until late last week that the committee, the Board, and I decided that we needed to give the offering away and chose to give it to the Myanmar relief effort. I think it says a lot about the power of the service that we raised more than $2500 in that offering–over ten times what we’d expect on a normal Sunday.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

After the service, the first person who approached me was my 17 year old son. Yes, the one that has been struggling so much recently. He looked me in the eye and said, “Now–are you passionate about what you do, Dad? Because I am going to remind you how important it is…”

Wow.

I can only hope that the power of this service reverberates through the lives of every single person there. If it does, watch out–we are going to make a difference!

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