Today was Memorial Day here in the States. That means it was a big weekend. Pastor Amanda and I had a going away party for a service man being deployed and then a pastor/ staff/ board celebration dinner on Saturday. Sunday of course was Memorial Day and Pentecost Sunday and then the church celebration for Pastor Amanda’s ordination. We were EXHAUSTED by Sunday afternoon.
I find I need most of a day to recuperate from a busy weekend and most of a week to gear up for another one.
So today I spent resting in prayer and moving very slowly as Worked around the Vicarage property.
Today I was working on a stand of sumac that has gotten out of control and become infested with bittersweet vine. It went from this:
Those who have followed “Notes From The Vicarage” will remember that last year at this time our family was living away from the Vicarage as it got much needed surgery for survival into the future.
We had the pipes torn out and replaced; The shingles torn off, new insulation put up and siding put on; The bathrooms were gutted to the studs and remodeled; The floors downstairs were refinished; Eight windows were replaced; The sills were replaced and the trim painted; And the stone porch which was falling down was removed.
As an afterthought we ended up having to replace all the pipes from the house to the street, and then the town had to come in and replace the pipes from the edge of my property to the center of the street..
As it was all happening I kept reminding myself, it had to get worse before and got better. And it did get better. We love the Vicarage and the work that was done inside.
This year we will be working on the outside.
It turns out tearing down a three-quarter- of- a -century old stone porch and digging up your yard not once but twice is not good for the landscaping.
Parts of the Vicarage are barren moonscape and others are…. well….. Strangled.
So as we get ready for upcoming fencing and masonry work to get done. I am starting to destrangle the Vicarage.
This might not look like much yet, but at least now the mason will be able to get to the disintegrating pillar.
I haven’t been able to write much over the last few weeks. Oh, I have had the time. I haven’t had the energy.
When I came on as lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church there was a lot to do. My task from God has been to renovate. The people of Cornerstone have been walking through a renovation of the spirit, a renovation of relationship and a renovation of our physical appearance.
WHAT HAS BEEN CONSUMING SO MUCH OF MY ENERGY LATELY HAS BEEN THE PHYSICAL RENOVATION OF THE BUILDING. I told the congregation that I had three initial goals for our physical building. I wanted to deal with the PINK (the dilapidated rug in the sanctuary), the STINK (the plumbing issue in our men’s bathroom that has long escaped diagnosis and makes the church smell bad when there are heavy rains) and the SINK (the parking lot we affectionately call the Cornerstone Himalayas).
We handled the PINK last summer. Our sanctuary went FROM THIS
This year we are dealing with the next two projects, starting withe largest. The SINK.
Our board has been planning for the last couple of months for the special business meeting of the congregation where we would have the vote to move forward with this project.
Sunday was the day.
The church voted.
We are getting a new parking lot!!!
Now the real work begins: the signing of documents, the planning for ministry during construction, the work of communicating all that is going on to the Cornerstone community.
There is a temptation to just keep plowing ahead.
But I think it is important for all of us who are about to embark on this next great congregational adventure to take a moment and celebrate what we have already accomplished!
I intended o write sometime during the weekend, but it was a big random weekend and the moments for writing did not coalesce as I wished them to.
On Friday I had a load of washed stone brought for the patio and the end of my drive. Yay! No more two foot drop off the end of the gravel!
Also on Friday I decided to go up to see the progress on The Ingleside property, now the Winchendon Community Park. I was a part of the committee that spearheaded the purchase of this land by the town. It is amazing to see what it is becoming.
Saturday morning I started with another tour around the yard to get my bearings of what needs to be done…. a lot of work lies ahead.
Then I met my friends Ray and Deb and Paul and Dawn to help set up for the “Taste of Winchendon Fair”. This is a multicultural fair that is in its third year in Winchendon.
Once set up was done I headed home to do a few chores.
I went back later in the day to help with breakdown. I caught the end of one of the bands that was playing. Big Random is a band that does a lot of charity work for the town. The drummer is a local lawyer who actually helped me a lot with the decisions concerning Grace’s estate work.
I met my daughter an son-in-law and grandchildren at the fair and we hung out for a while talking with other congregational members who were helping out at the various booths. Then Ray and I helped break the fair down. The dessert table had a left over cake so I brought that home as a Mother’s Day treat for mom.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. The flowers are from my sister Brenda. I got Mom chocolates. We got Wendy’s for lunch and then had naps. Naps are a Sunday necessity after church.
As I said a big random weekend at The Vicarage. Now I wonder if we will have a big random week.
Studying is a big part of my job. Weekly I prepare for three services and five videos.
I am almost always just keeping up with the reading my life requires. I have always liked study and so to have a job that requires me to discipline myself to that work is such a blessing.
Currently I am leading two studies dealing with life’s offenses and a study for young men through the Book of Acts. This morning I sat down in front of the computer and went item by item through all the material for my Sunday sermon, my Monday class and then my Tuesday class. After that I finished off video number five for my on line devotional.
I try to spend a bit of time each day on each class I have to teach each week. That way the material stays fresh in my mind and has time to deepen. Each exposure to the material drives me further into understanding. Cramming causes me to forget and leave out so much when it comes to the actual teaching.
I don’t usually get to go over the material everyday, but the goal is a good one to shoot for. and it keeps driving me to grow in this discipline of study.
One of my hobbies is feeding the birds. I have been an avid birdwatcher since my childhood.
My seven feeders at the Vicarage attract all kinds of birds: cardinals, bluebirds, sparrows, finches, towhees, juncos, chickadees, mockingbirds, catbirds, titmice, and hummingbirds….and it also attracts four of the five feathered pestS, birders are told to watch out for.
AND THE COOPER’S HAWK
I know I should dislike these birds. They are aggressive. I have watched the Coopers Hawk snatch a mourning dove right out of the air leaving just an explosion of feathers. I know the cowbirds are parasitic nesters. Yet somehow they also bring a sense of life and its vibrant and harsh realities to The Vicarage. They complete the story of life by adding a note of hardship, trial and challenge to the idealism of birdsong on a spring day. There is no story in this world without conflict.
In the next world we will see things differently. When innocence is restored and day and night, black and white, left and right fade into distant memory we will not need the perspective of conflict. But for bow we have to accept the conflict, the trial , the press as part of every life….even when we watch the birds.