Pastor Henry's Memo

July 2018

Lightning Strike Update

I have great news.  The lightning strike to our church steeple last Friday did not cause it to topple over.  The bells did not drop to the ground.  No one was injured.  What's more, there was no fire and our insurance will cover damages.  We are on the road to recovery as I pen this memo.  Our trustees are seeing to the necessary steps to make sure we're back to normal as soon as possible.  There will be a bit of an inconvenience to our Little Lambs Pre-school, but be of good cheer!  Saint Andrew's UMC has graciously welcomed our little ones into their facility for the time being.  We look forward to the time when our steeple is again safe and sound.  With our north entrance open, we will be worshiping in our fellowship hall.  We will have meetings in rooms at the north end of the building.  Our office will still be open from 7:30am - 3:30pm Monday thru Friday as usual.  We do not know how long we will be out of our sanctuary.  But we will be using it again.  Please be patient.  Continue to be faithful in your prayers and presence and with your offerings.  Every effort will be made to keep you informed about progress toward restoration.  God has blessed Calvary from its birth and continues to bless Calvary in this interruption to our normal schedules.  I encourage you to be with us this Sunday as we honor and show appreciation to our local first responders in worship and at a church-wide dinner immediately following.  God has been faithful.  And so should we all be this day and in all days.

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It's only July!

Yes, it's only July.  Indeed, it's just past the middle of July.  But this morning as I was driving to the church I heard Christmas music flowing from my car radio.  A pleasant male voice was reminding listeners it wasn't too early to begin thinking of the holiday season.  That's when I switched channels.  I have no idea what was being promoted for sale.  I can't imagine what would be so necessary for Christmas I would need to purchase it on the 17th of July.  I've counted the days.  Christmas is still 160 days away.  That's just shy of 23 weeks.  By then I will have celebrated my own birthday, both of my grandchildren's birthdays, my wife's birthday, and those of a couple of my closest friends as well as two of my siblings.  I started looking at my date book and saw day after day of things already scheduled this year and needing my more immediate attention than Christmas shopping in July.  But it did occur to me I need to acquire a 2019 date book as already I have appointments fixed beyond New' Year's Day and I sure wouldn't want to miss them.

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Three Years Ago

It's 12:50pm, the 10th of July, 2018.  In about an hour and 15 minutes it will be exactly three years since I broke my right hip.  The not too gory details of that fateful afternoon I will leave to my memory.  Suffice it to say, it was not what I planned.  Yet, as a consequence of that break, I was off on an adventure I would not have thought possible.  And I certainly wouldn't have scheduled it.  1st, it was a reminder I was not indispensable.  Other people stepped in to cover my absence; and did so quite effectively.  Special mention goes to The Reverend Don Sheline who just stepped in and saw to the pastoral care at Calvary and became my pastor for a month or so,  2nd, I was very capably nursed back to health by doctors, nurses, and a host of other hospital staff and to all of them I am very, very grateful.  3rd, my sons Keith and Nick stepped in to remind me I WAS the patient and I NEEDED to be the patient and I NEEDED to listen to those who were trying to make me well.  They've never been shy boys.  Thank God for that.  4th, I was reminded there are very good cooks at Calvary.  Various members brought me lunch each day during my home recovery.  5th, being at Avalon Estates Nursing Home I was not the pastor.  I was the patient.  My observational abilities were on heightened alert.  What I saw and heard and learned was quite enlightening.  I've been visiting nursing facilities for 41 years and for three blessed days I saw with very different eyes. 6th, speaking of 41 years, Julia was an angel.  Her patience and care was the epitome of "in sickness and in health."  I am a very blessed husband and father and pastor.

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July 4th and Very Special Birthday

When The 4th of July falls on a Wednesday, it takes some fancy scheduling to make it part of a long weekend.  My family always celebrated The 4th for the obvious reason; it is our nation's birthday. This year we are 242 years from that day in Philadelphia where the words of Thomas Jefferson were given to the 13 Colonies and to the world.  With England's Magna Carta, known as The Charter of Liberties (1215), our Declaration of Independence stand as the most significant statements of free people demanding their God-given rights be recognized and codified in law.  That is enough reason for fireworks and picnics and all sorts of celebration.  The other reason my family celebrated the 4th is because it was and still is my mother's birthday.  Tomorrow will mark her 94th.  We would gather at our home with the cousins and their families.  Once in a while we'd meet at a local park where there was a swimming pool.  Fun and food and family and a reason not only to feel free, but be free.  What makes the 4th so special for us is that my mother was a first-generation American.  Her parents were from Belarus.  They were White Russians living in Austria-Hungary before the First World War.  They came to America as teenagers through Ellis Island sometime before 1905 and after a while four boys and three girls were born to George and Catherine Polovitch.  Mom was the seventh. She loved that her birthday was celebrated every year and I have missed her these last 33 since her death.  However, tomorrow I will remember and celebrate and give thanks for our nation and I promise you this, I'll do more than eat a hot dog or two in memory of my mother.

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