Posts Tagged fellowship

A Unique Approach to Passing the Peace – Madison Avenue Baptist Church

Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City where Rev. Susan Sparks is the senior minister has a unique method for Passing the Peace or extending the Right Hand of Christian Fellowship during this pandemic. Because worshipers are scattered around the world and attending by smartphones or computer screens exercising social distancing, they are unable to touch each other. Rev. Sparks suggests that each listener reach out to at least three other people during the forthcoming week.

You can call, text or write each of your recipients. Next to face to face conversations hand written notes are the most personal and are most deeply appreciated. It is a way of staying in touch. It is a way to assure others that we have not forgotten them, that even in a pandemic they are important. Several years ago, I suggested that we could stretch the 12 days of Christmas over the entire year by choosing a date in each month and surprising a person with an unexpected greeting or small gift. Actually I like Susan’s idea better because you will reach more people. We are social beings and we need human contact.

Thursday of each week is Thankful Thursday. I ask this question on ‘Who are you thankful for today?” I then suggest that you let that person know of your gratitude. Thankful Thursday offers another opportunity to reach out, but now you are reaching out at least once each week. The purpose of all of these ideas is to stay in touch with others, especially those who have no family members nearby. You do not need to be a member of any religious or secular group to join in. Just do it because it makes you feel good.

Because people have time on their hands during this pandemic, I have heard from friends that I have not been in contact with for years. It is fun to catch up on what has happened in their lives. We all have such good intentions, but now we have the opportunity and the time to follow through and actually do those things we intended to do. Now we have the time.

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Great Reception at Charleston Baptist Church Forever Young Seniors

There is one thing all Baptists have in common. We like to eat and fellowship. You can never go wrong by attending a Baptist Pot Luck meal and the Forever Young Seniors at Charleston Baptist Church are no exception to the rule. These folk have a great time together.

If the truth be told, they do not need a guest speaker. Their fellowship is enough to carry them through. Today they were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. My friend Randy Moody took a fair amount of grief over his green Dollar Tree hat.

I was flattered to be their quest speaker for the meeting. They were extremely receptive and polite while I talked about what I learned while writing, Our Father: Discovering Family. They even bought copies of that one and, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World. We had a good exchange of ideas. I always have more fun around church people. My friend Phyllis Haynes from First Baptist was also there.

Randy Moody introduced me. Randy, Sarah, his wife, and I have been friends for more than thirty years. They are marvelous Christians who make life better for all who know them.

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Chautauqua Still Enthralls Us

        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.

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