Carol and I just returned from our annual trip to the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State. We arrived the day after Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston spoke to those attending Week Two; his speech was extremely well received. We heard many glowing comments. We read the printed version in the Chautauqua Daily. The theme was Ethics in Leadership. I was happy to tell the people that we are proud of our city and proud of Mayor Riley.  

            Our friends from Pennsylvania, Bob and Jane Russell and Jerry and Pat Wagner, helped make the week special as did my friend from Furman days, Joan Lipscomb Solomon. My Lunch Bag discussion of, “Renewing Christian Civility,” at the Baptist House was well received. It was co-sponsored by the United Church of Christ Association. There was a lively discussion and a request to do it again next year. As I walked the grounds, people stopped me to talk about the ideas. There were nice announcements in the Chautauqua Daily and the Sunday Worship insert.

            On Friday we attended another lecture on, “Is Civility Only for the History Books?”  It was extremely well done by the director of the New York Archives. He chose five examples of civil discourse to illustrate his point. Of course, I had an opportunity to comment.

            The Rev. Craig Barnes, Presbyterian minister from Pittsburg, was the minister of the week and was outstanding every day. The Sacred Song Service on Sunday night was truly wonderful. The music centered on the theme of James Weldon Johnson’s, “God’s Trombones.” We heard lectures every day both morning and afternoon on Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Palestine and China. There were symphony concerts Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Mark Russell entertained on Wednesday night and Dancing with the Stars performed on Friday night.

            Carey Cottage, where we stay, has the best porch on the grounds. The food leaves much to be desired. It is safe to say that no one goes to Chautauqua for the food except the spiritual type. The nightly trip to the ice cream stand is the only palatable reward. We did share a nice picnic at the Disciples of Christ House. The Methodist Church has a good $6.00 lunch each day. If you go, pack a lot of snacks. The program is so outstanding and the fellowship so great that one willingly endures the food.