Both pastors not only survived, but maybe even delighted in the marriages of their respective daughters. I know in our case tears were shed, laughter overflowed, and gratitude and joy abounded. It could not have been any lovelier than it was. We were surrounded by dear friends, as well as by family gathered from far and wide. The weather was unexpectedly warm and pleasant – especially for Rochester in late October! There were no great disasters, and only a couple of tiny wrinkles, now serving as the source of amusing memories. We are still basking in the glow of it all.
As fun as it would be just to stay right there in the middle of all that joy, life doesn’t work that way. We celebrated Thyra’s birthday the next morning, drove back to Toronto and flew home late that night. Since then we’ve shared a memorial service for a beloved friend and member, Jack Bryant, gathered for Celebration Sunday, handed out candy for Halloween, had our hopes raised and our hearts broken by the World Series, and gathered for a special Charge Conference. Despite the poor timing of the last two items our attendance at the Charge Conference was solid and the support for the loan applications to complete our new educational facilities was unanimous. I have nothing but gratitude for the spirit and boldness of this congregation.
As we move forward together there are many good things coming right up. This Sunday we will give thanks for all the saints, those who have gone before us in this life and provided examples of grace, courage and compassion for others. On Tuesday, November 7 we are hosting the Dawn Unity Interfaith Discovery Series, which will focus on the history of interfaith relations in the Los Angeles area. I am honored to be on the panel, which includes well-known leaders from the Roman Catholic, Jewish and Muslim communities.
The following Sunday is Heifer Plus, our wonderful alternative Christmas market, this year even more lovely with the addition of works from local artists to help raise funds for hurricane recovery efforts. The Thanksgiving Dinner is a feast of delicious food and warm community, a reminder of the goodness of God in all the seasons of our lives. Our youth will help serve the meal, but are also preparing meals to be shared on Thanksgiving Eve with persons who are hungry or homeless, in partnership with the members of Walteria UMC.
For those who find the coming holiday season a source of stress as well as of joy, I am excited that Michelle Dexter, a church member and gifted clinical psychologist, is offering a “Holiday Survival Kit” at the end of the month. I know you’ll enjoy her energy and spirit.
Thank you for all that you do to share the mission of God in such a generous, hopeful and loving way. I am glad to be among you, and to be a part of so many good and important endeavors.
Grace and peace,