On the first Sunday in November, it has become our custom to light candles. We do so in memory of those who have touched our lives and have died. They are family or congregational members we’ve lost. They are strangers who have suffered innocently. They are long-gone loved ones.
To remember is to bring to mind again, making present what seems to be distant or past.
We light a candle and speak a name, and there is a re-membering — a restoring of the presence and touch of someone who has gone. The company grows. We celebrate and find strength in the cloud of witnesses.
God, in the Hebrew scriptures, often “remembers” people. That remembering typically sparks an action on their behalf. Not just a matter of sentimental recollection, it is rather a renewed commitment to the person.
As we remember those who have been part of our lives, we recognize their impact in and among us. And we renew our commitment to passing on the gifts they shared!
As Annual Conference began last week in Greensboro, NC, the focus was on the compelling vision process in which the church as a whole is engaged. Over the past year, many Districts held sessions to begin to ask and answer questions that will help us discern how God may be calling the church in the years ahead.
One of the ways information was captured and presented is in a word cloud– a visual representation of the frequency with which some ideas were named in the conversations. Below are the 100 words most often articulated. They may express some of our priorities as a denomination.
Annual Conference delegates continued the conversations in Greensboro. In the months ahead we’ll have further information about what emerged there.
It began as a wish from a 95-year old remembering long-ago family visits to the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia for high tea. “We should take a field trip there, just for fun,” Maxie suggested. As an alternative, on June 15, with the Fellowship Hall transformed into a tea room, a group gathered for our own version of high tea.
As part of the time, Maxie and Jean, another of our 90+- year-old members, were honored. Each a remarkable example of living richly and fully into later years, the two continue to inspire many!
There was a great assortment of tea services , a profusion of sandwiches, cakes, scones, cookies, and fruit, and even a few fancy hats!
Women, men, and kids joined in the fun as we recalled a tradition, laughed around the tables, and indulged in enough food to become supper (though a rich one) for most of us.
All agreed that we ate as well or better — and certainly more abundantly– than we could have anywhere else!