Veggie Booty and Super Veggie Tings RECALL

June 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Food and Drink 

My new favorite snack food, Veggie Booty, has been recalled due to salmonella contamination.  There have been 50-something reported cases over the past 3 months all over the country that have been traced back to this product.

Information on the recall is found HERE.  You’ll need to return the empty bags to the store where you bought them or to the manufacturer for reimbursement.

I just had to throw away 3 bags.  I hope they make it again soon.

UPDATE 7/3/07:  The manufacturer has added Super Veggie Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks to the list of recalled product – all lots and dates of manufacture.

Corporate Skills for Church Leaders

June 29, 2007 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

Since getting re-involved in the church, I’m often frustrated at the general pace and tenor of church work.  (This is particularly true in our national conflicts, but I’m thinking primarily of local issues here.)  Everything is done VERY slowly, and there are far too many unnecessary interpersonal conflicts (conflict being a broad term encompassing everything from annoyance to lack of communication).  In the corporate world, the company would have been restructured and had its culture adjusted long ago.

It’s not even the case that the issues stem from differences between Christian values and capitalist corporate values.  Most of church disagreements are quite similar to corporate disagreements:  resistance to change, people having to have their input on a change, people just generally behaving badly, etc.

Some examples:  I’ve been involved in committee meetings where one person is allowed to dominate the discussion and consume all available time.  I’ve been involved in groups that forget important people (stakeholders) and push ahead with the obvious “right thing to do” without recognizing the opposition that is waiting.  We’ve all heard from a pew-sitter or even officer or leader who is upset that they were left out of a decision that “obviously” should have included them.  These aren’t even examples of malicious interference – that is even worse.

So here is my proposal – ALL church officers (deacons, elders, trustees, and clergy) and other leaders (non-ordained staff, committee leaders, etc) should have training in the following areas:

  1. Communications
  2. Conflict Management
  3. Project Management
  4. Change Management

When it comes to officers, the training need only be done once per term (or once per person letting the officer determine whether or not they need the training again).  For committee chairs and staff members, it should be done once per person.

Communications
A typical corporate Communications class consists of training in the following areas:   communications goals,  communications styles, bridging communications between people of different styles, roles and responsibilities within communications,  active listening, non-verbal skills, openness, cultural issues, and rudimentary conflict skills.  In the corporate world this tends to be a 3-day 8-hour per day class.

Conflict Management
A typical corporate Conflict Management class consists of training in the following areas:  defining conflict, underlying causes, stages of conflict, conflict in teams, diffusing anger (and passive aggressive behavior), opening dialogue, conflict resolution (including compromise), and establishing a collaborative environment.  In the corporate world this tends to be a 2-3 day 8-hour per day class.

Project Management
A typical corporate Project Management class consists of training in the following areas:  stages of a project,  objectives, goals, requirements, deliverables, estimating, managing workload and resources, scheduling, evaluating risk, control of the project as it progresses, managing progress, project completion and closure, and rudimentary change management skills.  In the corporate world this tends to be a 4 day 8-hour per day class.

Change Management
A typical corporate Change Management class consists of training in the following areas:  determining the need for change, identifying and involving stakeholders, intellectual and emotional reactions to change, overcoming resistance to change, moving from fear to commitment to change, the importance of a change champion and leadership support for change, the importance of communications during change, change completion, recovery and rebounding.  In the corporate world this tends to be a 2 day 8-hour per day class.

Let me be clear – I’m NOT advocating that each officer be run thorough 12 days (and about $12,000) of training.  Most congregations already have people with corporate skills and many will have an actual trainer sitting in the pews.  I believe that officers and leaders need the rudiments of each of these skills.  These classes could probably be boiled down to a total of 8 hours of classroom and activity time, with external resources (your local church camp or conference center?) providing more depth on an as-needed.  I would assume (but I’m prepared to be told that I’m wrong) that clergy would receive training in these areas in seminary.

As Christians, we are expected to be in community and harmony (overall) with each other and therefore the willingness to improve our skills for working with each other and for God should already be there.  We just need to formalize the process of gaining those skills and doing our work more effectively.  And then let’s use the extra time and energy (no longer wasted) for prayer, time with God, or even more good works.

What do you think?

Disclaimer:  I have no relationship with Learning Tree or the American Management Association other than having taken their classes in the past.  Other trainers will provide the same training of comparable value.

Retreat update

June 23, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Religion 

I’ve updated my post on my church’s All Church Retreat with a few photos – check them out!

Five Things I Dig About Jesus

June 22, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

(I got tagged by Quotidian Grace.)

The Rules:

(a) Those tagged will share “Five Things They Dig About Jesus”.
(b) Those tagged will tag 5 people.
(c) Those tagged will leave a link to their meme in the comments section of
this post so everyone can keep track of what’s being posted.

Here are my five:

1.  Jesus’ main message was love – Love for God, Love for Each Other.  This message drives everything else.

2.  Jesus spent much of his time working amongst the “least of these”.  I’m a big fan of the underdog (as I said here).

3.  Jesus felt that the individual was more important than the group, even though we are expected to be a group.  (Matthew 18:12-14)

4.  Jesus spoke Truth to Power.

5.  Jesus gave us the Happy Ending.

Now I get to tag some people.

Classical Presbyterian
Bayou Christian
The Church Geek
Pomomusings
Small World Big Church

Have a nice weekend!

Setting the record straight

June 22, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

I got quoted by the Layman.

For those who’ve never heard of it, the Presbyterian Layman is the newsletter of the Presbyterian Lay Committee.  In my opinion, the Presbyterian Lay Committee has been one of the driving forces behind attempts by the conservative wing of the PC(USA) denomination to take over and/or split the denomination.  The Lay Committee is extremely divisive – the Layman doubly so.

I was quoted in this article for my comments in this post at Decently and In Order.  DAIO is a site run by 4 young PC(USA) pastors who do a semi-regular podcast.  The site is set up so that users (including me) can post links to articles of interest on the web and make comments.  Voting (ala Digg.com – which the site is based on) is available, but it’s the comments that are the most interesting.

I want to make a few things clear.

First, I was never interviewed by The Layman.  I may have corresponded with Craig Kibler in the past regarding one of his articles, but I have not done so in the last several months.  The quotes attributed to me come solely from the DAIO post linked above.

Second, I support my statements regarding the Heartland Presbytery Administrative Commission.  I feel strongly that an AC that has substantially all of the power of the presbytery over sessions and minister members, that has the ability to have additional targets added by a small subset of presbytery members, and that has no defined end date is a terrible idea.  In essence, a group that has large amounts of power has been created under circumstances where the only way to perpetuate that power is through the finding of additional “schismatics”.  This is an invitation to corruption.  A better choice would be to create the AC to deal solely with the two congregations in question.  Emergency presbytery meetings would be sufficient to deal with new situations.

Third, I am completely in favor of an Administrative Commission being created to exercise the powers listed over the First Presbyterian Church of Paola, KS and the Hillsdale Presbyterian Church of Hillsdale, KS.  A married couple are in positions of power in each church, and they have clearly schemed together to lead these congregations out of the denomination.  Their actions have shown none of the grace expected and required when a church regretfully chooses to leave the denomination.

I hope this clears things up.

Evangelism, Introverts, and The Truth

June 19, 2007 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

This post is in answer to a request from Adam of Introverted Church.

Adam says:  “I would really like to hear your thoughts about evangelism in the experience of an introvert. Have you found things that work well and feel natural?”

That’s a complex question.  There are two different premises that make evangelism tricky for me.

1.  Knowing The Truth

In my personal little version of Christianity, there is a tenet that says “nobody on earth is able to know all of God’s Will and God’s Truth.”  Closely tied to that is a requirement for humility and mutual respect for non-Christians.

In other words – I can’t know the entirety of God’s Will and God’s Truth.  Neither can you, or anybody else.

That is not the same thing as saying “you can’t believe anything”.  I do know what I believe.  Those beliefs have been arrived at through a continuing process of education, contact with others who speak of their beliefs, prayer and other inspiration from the Spirit.  So it is true to say that I know what I believe to be God’s Will for me, and God’s Truth as I understand it.  The important distinction is that there’s enough room for my error that I can’t really say that someone with differing beliefs is wrong.  For all I know, there really is a Flying Spaghetti Monster and I should be dressing like a pirate.  I think I’m right and I will act accordingly.  I don’t want to infringe on others’ right to do the same (within limits – like killing me for my beliefs).  I believe that they might be better off agreeing with me, but not with enough certainty to push.

I mentioned humility above.  I honestly feel that anyone who is completely certain that they understand God and God’s Will has replaced God with themselves.  It’s idolatry of the self.  Humility says that God is so big that I can’t get it all.

2.  Being an Introvert Christian

When I do the Myers-Briggs test, I tend to come out a strong introvert (70-80% of responses indicate Introvert).  (For those who are curious, I’m an INFP.)   That means a few things:

  • I’m at my best in small groups or preferably one-on-one.  There are exceptions – over time my wife Carolyn has become so much a part of my life that when it comes to Introvert comfort she counts as me rather than another person.  I’m also very comfortable in a group of INFP’s (which I’ve experienced occasionally through church work).
  • Large groups and conflict drain my energy much more quickly than the average person.  Parties just plain leach the energy out of me.  Sitting in a room with a few friends chatting or spending time alone energize me.  I’ve learned over the years to notice the signs of a social energy deficit approaching and take steps to prevent overload when I can.
  • When taken in combination with the rest of my personality, my introversion causes me to care deeply about individuals.  My parents last Christmas quite correctly told me that I can be depended on to support the underdog.  (I also enjoy Underdog).  A side effect of this (and something true of many introverts) is that I have very few very close friends and many acquaintances at a much shallower level.  I can count the people who know the depth of my thoughts and feelings on one hand.

Other introverts experience the world differently.  For example – I have no problem with public speaking (aside from talent – I’m OK but not great and I’m much better when I’m speaking extemporaneously) but many introverts have a real problem with speaking in front of large crowds.

Christianity has been called an “extrovert” religion.  The stereotype of evangelism is someone (a stranger, a pesky neighbor) grabbing you by the arm and exclaiming “Let me tell ya bout Jeeeeeeee-a-zuuuuus!”  Let’s face it – with the way we practice Christianity it IS an extrovert religion.  We have people teaching and preaching from a platform way up above the passive (or at least reactive) congregation.  A pastor is expected to be everything from a religious zealot to a public speaker to a teacher to a psychologist.  We have altar calls, testimonies, and other forms of endless sharing of our innermost thoughts and emotions.

By now the Presbyterians are asking “What’s he talking about?”  OK – I’ll grant that we Presbyterians aren’t as demonstrative.  But we’re still very social – lots of committees, communal meals, Bible studies, youth groups, mission trips, etc.  Today’s Christianity is not for the solitary.  Even monks live in groups.

The Intersection

When these two ideas (introverts in Christianity, my personal theology around the truth) intersect you get … well, me.  What does that mean?

I don’t believe that I should force my beliefs on others.  That extends sufficiently far that I shouldn’t even talk to someone about my beliefs unless I am invited.  I am very open with my friends, family and co-workers about my church and other religious activities – but only as a narrative of my life.  If someone desires to delve deeper into what I believe and perhaps what they believe then I will – but only at their prompting.  If someone tells me that they believe X and I know that I believe Y, I will celebrate them for their sincerity of belief rather than trying to change their minds.  My religion is a voluntary religion (at least on the surface – we’ll leave Irresistible Grace for another conversation).

I believe that Christ was an example to the people that he met, and to those of us who know of him second-hand (or nth-hand).  Christ did say “Follow Me”, but I’ve always read that as “Follow Me and I’ll teach you” – a summons that we are free to accept or reject.  To me, that means that as Christians we are to be examples to others.  To me, the highest form of evangelism is “Hey, he’s a great guy.  I wonder why?  I think I’ll ask him.”  The Freemasons have a saying “To Be One, Ask One”.  For Christianity it’s more like “You can be like me if you want to” (and by extension, like Christ).

Christ told the disciples to be fishers of men.  Fishing is voluntary in two parts.  First, the fisherman must choose to dangle a hook (and bait) in the water in the vicinity of the fish.  Second, the fish must choose to eat the bait and thereby be hooked (or not hooked).  Christ never said “Go forth and force people to believe in me, by whatever means necessary”.  No, He chose a slower, more voluntary method.

OK, So Answer Adam’s Question

Way back at the top Adam asked a question.  “Have you found things that work well and feel natural?”

Let me begin by saying that I can’t point to a success.  I do not know of a single person who has decided to become a Christian because of my efforts.  I believe that I’ve helped some people BACK to the church (though not to Christianity – the church and the religion aren’t the same thing and their beliefs were already there).  I believe that I may have strengthened someone’s belief through my actions and words directly or indirectly.  I just can’t say that I’ve made a “new recruit”.

I’m happiest within the church to be DOING rather than TALKING.  I’d rather be the behind-the-scenes guy who is making sure the event is going well (topping off the coffee pot, planning, setting up, cleaning up, etc).  I really don’t want to be the on-stage person though I will if it’s the right thing for the situation.  I like working in small teams, though church committees frustrate me some.  I’m more comfortable in the pews than behind the pulpit but I’ll preach if you really want me to.

When it comes to talking about my faith, I prefer to do it one on one.  I have had some longish conversations at work with my boss about her faith (she’s unchurched mainly for historic family reasons rather than anything having to do with beliefs).  I’ve had similar conversations with others within the church or at camp over the years.  If I’m going to speak about my beliefs in a group, I want it to be a group of equals where everyone is speaking about their beliefs.  With the Reconnecting with Faith retreats that we’ve run at Johnsonburg, we have worked very hard (with great results) to create a safe space without judgment to talk about feelings and beliefs between equals.

I’m still trying to figure out my faith.  I suspect that this will be an eternal process.  When I design computer software (yes, an INFP software designer!) I usually have to let my subconscious chew on it for a while.  At some point I get a feeling that I have it together enough to go ahead and start putting pen to paper, and I’ll be able to answer any questions that come up.  I’m not there yet with my faith.

That’s what works for me today, fairly well.  Example, Action, One-to-one, and Humility/Acceptance of the other’s point of view.

I hope that answers the question.

I welcome comments and criticisms on this topic.

Annual Congregational Meeting

June 18, 2007 by · 10 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

The Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville held the Annual Congregational Meeting yesterday.

I won’t bother to comment on the many reports that were given.  In general, the church is healthy.

The only slight negative in any report was that the Stewardship Campaign for last year didn’t reach it’s goals.  Those goals were tough – a 10% increase in pledges and a 10% increase in total pledge amount.  The committee achieved a 5% increase in total pledge amount with a decrease in pledges.

The Youth and Young Adult Ministry was by far the longest and most comprehensive report – covering 2.5 pages with 9 pt. type.  I was mentioned as a youth leader several times – including being credited with being a “devoted” leader of the Jr. High group even though I attended only once.

The “Green Team” wasn’t mentioned except in passing as the sponsor of one adult education event.

The Stated Clerk’s Report rolled up the membership numbers for the year.  We started the year with 867.  There were 29 new members (13 by Profession/Reaffirmation of Faith, 14 by letter of transfer, and 2 restored to the roll).  We lost 65 members – 6 by Letter of Transfer, 11 by Death, and 48 by Session Removals (making them inactive).  If you take out the Inactives, we had a net gain of 12.  We ended the year with 831.  There were also 10 infant baptisms and one adult baptism.

The Sunday School and Youth programs total 256 youngsters.

Aside from one remark made by the pastor regarding inactive members (and which I’ve contacted him about via e-mail) there was nothing to be concerned about.  All seems to be well.

But I’m concerned.

I believe that I am guilty of the sin of envy.

The Nominating Committee nominated 5 people to serve as elders, 8 people to serve as deacons, and one person to serve the remaining two years of a term as deacon.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a youth nominated to fill that unexpired deacon term – Claire will do a great job and if I have her year in school correct she’ll be able to finish her term before going to college (which I unfortunately was unable to do so many years ago).

Three of the officers were members of the same New Members class as me.  I was very surprised to see them nominated – I figured that nobody that new would even be considered (indeed – one of the pastoral associates said something to that effect to me).  The man nominated to be an elder is actually a returning member (he moved away and then back).  All three of them are devoted members and completely appropriate for the office.

But a voice inside me asks “Why them and not me?  Haven’t I worked hard enough?”

Another voice answers “Why does it matter?  What do you want from the church?”

Yet another voice says “If you’re upset about this, you clearly aren’t worthy anyway.”

I do make a solid contribution to the youth ministry and feel appreciated there.  I know that I made a good contribution to the Green Team and I have felt appreciation from some about that.  I try to pitch in wherever I can.

I know that I make valued contributions at camp, and they are recognized.  Camp feels like home – what I do there to help (while sometimes tiring) never feels like work.

Clearly the pastor sees a future contribution from me – it shows in his choice to ask me to lead the new task force.  This is partially offset by the fact that it’s been over 2 months since I talked to him about the task force and it still isn’t populated yet.  When last we spoke we had three members (out of a target of 8) and we had named another 8 members to ask.  Our plan for meeting before the summer went out the window – we’ll now be lucky if we can start our task in September.

So what am I looking for anyway?

Clearly, any consideration of the church as a future full-time vocation has to go on the back burner.

I feel like I’m back at square one with my discernment process.  Did I really join the church for the reasons that I thought I did?  Am I being fed?

As I said last week, there is turbulence.  Now it’s revealed to be inside my head.

In the mean time, I persevere.  I’ll keep working on things as planned.  I’ll still be at camp in about 2 weeks to help with check-in.  I’ll still work on the task force when/if it gets going.  I’ll still be working with the youth.

Random Bullets from my head

June 15, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Life, Religion, Work 

My life has been … not so much turbulent as full of changes at my periphery and disquiet in my mind.  Here are some random thoughts:

  • Today is the last day at my company of the woman who sits across the aisle from me.  She started with the company about 3 months before I did back in 1993.  For the last almost-year we’ve sat across from each other and been very happy (we both like quiet, we enjoy each other’s company).  I’m really gonna miss seeing a beautiful, intelligent, and friendly face every day.
  • Also at work:  the CIO has realized that morale within the IT group is not particularly good.  We’ve had four voluntary departures in the last month (out of a group that was about 45 people).  He’s holding lunch meetings with a smattering of people in each (everybody goes to one of them) to talk about issues.  I took the initiative to meet with him this past Monday.  I scheduled the meeting for an hour and his questions drew my list of issues out to an hour and 45 minutes.  It was a good session and minor happenings since show that he listened to what I said.  The problem is that many of my issues are outside of his direct control – they are company-wide.
  • Between what is happening with my church work (on an upswing) and what is going on at work (on a downswing), I’m wondering if I’m in the right career.  That’s right – not just right job but right career.  Any assistance for someone undergoing a mid-life career discernment questioning period would be appreciated – leave a comment or use the e-mail link at left.
  • This weekend I should be going flying for the first time since the end of March.  My blood pressure broke free of control back then – my doctor changed my dosage and I’m now stable again.  Actually I’ve been stable since early May, but I’ve been too busy to fly.
  • Also this weekend I’m a bachelor.  Carolyn is headed up north to go to a garden show with her parents.  She’ll stay overnight Saturday and come home on Sunday.  My bachelor amusements will include lawn-cutting, bill-paying, and laundry.
  • Sunday at church we have the Annual Congregational Meeting.  This includes the usual reports and election of officers.  I’m not on the program (either giving a report or being elected), so I will probably attend.  If it’s too hot (and it’s looking that way) I might just grab a copy of the annual report and check out if they have a quorum.  You see, our church isn’t air conditioned ….
  • I’m waiting for Verizon to finish installing FIOS in the neighborhood.  They ran the underground conduits 2 weeks ago.  So far the box in the ground had nothing in it but mud (or high water when it rains – I don’t know if they’ll actually be able to use the box).  I’m looking forward to getting FIOS Internet service and dumping Cablevision completely.  I might get FIOS TV as well (it’s available in my town) but I’ll have to see how it stacks up against DirecTV.  I’d like to keep my HD Tivo, but DirecTV is switching technology for HD programming and a Tivo will not be an option soon.  I can do a Tivo Series 3 with FIOS, but I lose video on demand and pay per view.  Decisions, decisions.
  • The cats are fine, but increasingly geriatric at age 11.  Sometimes they still run around like maniacs but those episodes are few and far between.

Have a good weekend!

2007 All-Church Retreat

June 11, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Religion, Youth 

This past weekend, Carolyn and I attended the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville Annual All-Church Retreat at Camp Johnsonburg.

We arrived early on Friday in order to avoid rush hour traffic on the way there.  This enabled us to choose our room in the lodge (a good move) and to sit in outdoor lounge chairs when everybody else arrived.  Most of the group arrived in time for dinner Friday night, followed by tie-dying preparation.  Friday night itself was hot and muggy and sleeping was not easy.

Saturday was lovely but still a bit humid.  We started the day with breakfast.  Carolyn and I were both signed up for Low Ropes (group building and personal challenge activities near ground level).  We both participated in the first two activities (marshmallows on the dangerous Chocolate River – get the group across, and untying human knots while balancing on a teeter platform).  At that point anybody participating in the Leap of Faith had to leave in order to get there.  Carolyn continued with Low Ropes and did some challenge exercises like walking a steel cable balancing with a rope and crossing a series of tire swings.

Low Ropes
Here we are crossing the dangerous chocolate river on floating marshmallows.  I’m the one in the green shirt and Carolyn is right behind me.  I’ve mentioned Jill Cifelli here a number of times – she’s the woman in gray standing in line.

The Leap of Faith is a zip line suspended above a low spot in the trail – forming a bit of a valley.  Somehow the Ropes course staff managed to run 30 of the 35 people signed up through in the morning.  I helped out (as a former staffer always will) by being the person who unhooked the last participant and running the zip line back to the top of the hill.  For this activity I was rewarded with praise and sweat (lots of sweat).

After lunch on Saturday we finished tie-dying and I got my chance on the Leap.

Leap of Faith - Mark #1
This is me in flight.

Leap of Faith - Mark #2
This is me waiting to be unhooked. (A thought bubble would say “Hurry up – this harness is giving me a serious wedgie!”)

After the Leap I assisted with the kids who were doing High Ropes.  The High Ropes course is run between trees about 20-30 feet off the ground.  You have a choice of starting with a “helicopter”-style ladder and then crossing a steel cable using a guide cable or the harder option of crossing on a cable using ropes as handholds.  The other option is to climb an inclined ladder to a platform, and then crossing more cables and wooden boxes to the final platform.  Both starts lead to a zip line at the end.  Our church is apparently populated by monkeys – the kids did the High Ropes course mainly with no fear and very quickly.

Between all of the Ropes activities we only had 3 refusals – one very small girl who didn’t do the Leap, and a boy and a girl who didn’t complete (or start in one case) the High Ropes.  I add myself to the list – having done it 20 years ago as a counselor I had no interest at all in doing the High Ropes.

Saturday after dinner, we made banners depicting our concepts of faith and God that will hang in the Fellowship Center at church.  After that, the traditional campfire complete with S’mores.

Saturday night sleeping was easier due to lower temperatures.

Sunday morning after breakfast we had worship outdoors by the waterfront.  One of the parents in the group played a carved flute and pan pipes for the Prelude and Postlude.  The rest of the service was run by a family that directed music, our Director of Children’s Ministries, and one of the Interim Associate for Pastoral Ministry folks (she’s also my new co-chair of the task force).  Worship was nice, and ended just before the rain started.

It rained the rest of Sunday morning, and after lunch we headed on home.

It was a nice weekend.  I was more relaxed than usual as a result, and I’m having a tough time with “re-entry” into the work world today.

One thing that was a bit odd was that Carolyn and I were the only family without kids.  I believe that this retreat used to be the “Family Retreat” and in recent years has been the “All-Church” retreat.  It was a little easier for us than it could have been – we both like kids and since we’ve been doing work with the youth group we were familiar to many of the parents.  I did get to meet about 15 families that I didn’t know (or know well) before.  Hopefully the retreat will attract more younger singles or couples without kids in the future.

I tried to serve as a goodwill ambassador (a title vested on me by one of the parents) for the camp to the church.  There were two of the youth that I tried to recruit for the camp’s Leadership Training Program and it looks like one might consider it (the other isn’t old enough yet).  I hope they do – they’d both make great Johnsonburgers.  I only hope that I wasn’t too pushy – Carolyn’s opinion is that I went right up to the line and didn’t cross it.

Today I’m pooped and a bit sore (there are a few muscles that don’t get used that often) but still more relaxed than usual.

Another Clump of Church

June 4, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Religion 

I find that my church-related events tend to clump.  In April, I had Youth Sunday on the same day as the Earth Day presentation by the Environmental Stewardship committee.

I’m in the middle of a clump now.

This past weekend was devoted to the Silent Auction fundraiser for the Youth Mission trip to Louisiana.  We received 80-something donations of goods and services (babysitting, music for a dinner party, etc), and on Sunday night during a rainstorm (remnants of Tropical Storm Barry) we raised $3,400.

Next weekend is devoted to the All-Church retreat at Camp Johnsonburg.  We’ll be there from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon.  Carolyn and I (mostly I) will be serving as “native guides” for the trip due to our current and prior involvement with camp and the number of first-time visitors in the group.

I got a gift from God this week in the form of the co-chair for the Welcome and Outreach Task Force.  Jill Cifelli has been serving the church as Interim Associate for Pastoral Ministry along with Nolan Huizenga this past year while the church searched for the new Associate Pastor.  Jill’s responsibilities included the new member process.  She is leaving that position at the end of the month when the new Associate starts, and will be going back onto the session.  She will also be my co-chair and the liaison to the session from the task force.  Jill is one of the first few people that I talked to at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville about joining, and I if I’m remembering correctly every conversation that I’ve had with her has included laughter.  I’m really looking forward to this.

To that end, we are meeting with the pastor on Thursday to tie up some loose ends for the task force.  We still have to nail down the rest of the membership (we have one solid member, but the rest of the team is just a list of possible names at this point), and work out the beginning activities.

Things should quiet down after next weekend.

Work is also a bit busy this week, so don’t be surprised if I don’t get a chance to write much.