I don’t recall when I first heard of the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State, but I do know that it kindled in me a desire to go. My friend from Furman, Joan Lipscomb Solomon, suggested that I submit a proposal for the Special Studies Program and it was accepted. After being there a week I was hooked. I was afraid that Carol might not like it but I was wrong.

It is the most amazing mixture of religion, the arts, national and international affairs and music of every description. Conversation is always available and friendships are made and nurtured. We met our friends Jane and Bob Russell there and later their family. We met Pat and Bud Brown at the Baptist House. We have grown to know and admire the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell. We met Paul Rauchenbush and Martin Marty there. On my first visit I met the Rev. Dr. Linda Bridges and the Rev. Dr. Loren Mead. The list goes on and on.

Carol and I just returned from a wonderful week there. My soul has been inspired and my spirits lifted. I am filled to over flowing with gratitude for this wonderful place that is in its 139th year. Civil discourse is still possible in America. There is still a place where reasoned debate can and does take place.

On this Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the Chautauqua Institution and the generations of benefactors who continue to make such a place possible.

Thankful Thursday is a day set aside to recognize the importance of someone to our lives and to let her or him know of our gratitude. Develop and attitude of gratitude. Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. You will be glad that you did.