We just returned from 8 AM church at St. Francis Church here in Petoskey. That’s right! Church at 8 AM! And it was really good. We wanted to go to church with Grandpa and he was going at 8 AM, so 8 AM it was. It was a lovely celebration of Eucharist with a great reminder of our abundance and our need to respond from that abundance. I left thinking about how we have so much and asking myself how I might find more ways to share the abundance that we enjoy with those who are impoverished in any way.
Yesterday was the family reunion and it was a good celebration of family and fun. Many Thanks to Tom and Sue Foltz for working so hard and planning such a wonderful day. It was great. It was, as always, very heartening to spend time with Grandpa Foltz and with all of his family immediate and extended. We did it all yesterday, from eating to three legged races, to swimming, to eating, to sack races, to eating, to tug o’ war, to eating…you get the idea. We finished the day around a campfire at campground where some of Catherinanne’s siblings were camping. It was all a lot of fun.
When I think of abundance and the need to find ways to share it, I think that we sure enjoyed a lot of abundance yesterday, not just food and stuff, but an abundance of fun, fellowship, love and joy. We should have the courage as people to find ways to bring that same sense of love and joy to all.
I give thanks to God this Sunday for all the love and Joy I know in my life, from my wife, my wife’s family, from my family, from my parish family, from my friends and from the wider church. I pray that I might find ways to reach out of that love to respond to those in the world, who are hungry, lonely, rejected, sick, naked, hurting, and broken. How about we look to find ways to do that together.
Happy Birthday Mom. Today my mother is 74. She is such a caring and sweet woman and she really has been a terrific mom. While I am sad not be there with her on her birthday, I am excited that I will be there in a few days to say Happy Birthday in person.
Mom is a great gift and has given me so much of my faith and my strength. She is a strong and quite woman. Mom worked hard raising seven children and being grandmother to 12 and great grandmother to 14. Mom you deserve the best on your birthday. All of your family loves you and is proud of you. You have always given us the best of yourself and have put our needs before your own. It is a blessing to have such a wonderful mother. I pray you every blessing for yourself and all whom you love today and every day. I love you – thank you for being so wonderful!
Well, Seven more sleeps and I’ll be able to get up in the morning peek out the window and see the Shag Rock Pictured below. Seven more sleeps and I will enjoy tea with Mom and Dad. Seven more sleeps and I will enjoy the clean soft salt air. Seven more sleeps and I can joke and carry on with brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Seven more sleeps to being able to wish Mom and dad happy birthdays. Seven more sleeps till there are kisses and hugs from all of the children. Seven more sleeps to have some more time with the twins. Seven more sleeps to hearing Mom tut, tut and what I might be saying or doing. Seven more sleeps to being able to talk the lingo and have all around me understand. Seven more sleeps till I am resting free in Newfoundland culture. I must say I am getting anxious to get there now. Just seven more sleeps!
The news from the Middle-East is devastating. The need for diplomacy and peaceful discourse is tremendous in the face of escalating violence and aggression from all sides. In reading the news or watching the coverage one feels so much despair. I was reading some selected quotes of Elie Wiesel this morning and I cam across this one: “Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” We need to look to people in our past and in the present who are strong agents for peace and who have a hopeful resolve. I pray, as the Christian Community is called to do, that there might be more hope, less fear and despair from the mid-east. I also read those words of Wiesel and I feel compelled to be more hope than despair in life. I think we can all fall into despair … many times we are led to it. I think we all need to work to focus on those who lead with light and hope to something more powerful and more profound.
We had a meeting last night of our Markus Group at the church. Great to have conversations on growth take place even during the summer months at the church. The energy in this place is good. So many other parishes are closing up shop for summer so to speak in scaling things back. We, on the other hand, have continued with church as usual. It is only appropriate given that God is not on vacation during the summer months.
It is great having Catherinanne home. This is the first bit of summer we have been able to enjoy together. It has felt pretty good the last couple of night barbequing and having dinner together. Feels almost normal to me. Last night we sat and watched a movie when I got home. We rented Dreamer – Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning. It is a Seabiscuit kind of story. We both enjoyed it. Dakota Fanning is a great young actress and makes good of all roles she plays. This is a good family story and really tells a story about the importance of being attentive t o family relationships. Watch it some time if you get a chance!
Today is Annette’s birthday. Annette is my Nephew Gary’s wife and mother to three beautiful girls, Leah, Andrea and Becky. From our home to yours happy birthday. You are in our thoughts and prayers today! We look forward to being with you next week.
Eric Jollimore is a great young man at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake who served as an Altar Server for the first time today. It was very much last minute or at least 3 minutes as we were at 10:27 AM when I asked him if he would serve. Without hesitation, without any training he jumped right in with both feet – And he did a marvellous job, dare I say it – he was awesome!
Eric took direction from myself, and Geoff and Christian Paulton very well and ne brought a great deal of dignity to our celebration this morning. Many thanks Eric for stepping up to the plate with such eager anticipation.
We had great services today. There was a healthy summer crowd of 132 at 10:30 AM and I think about 30 at 8 AM. Meghan Byrne filled in for her sister Andrea who is honeymooning at the moment with her husband Phil. She did an excellent job as well and we look forward to her return in a couple of weeks for another go around with us.
Sarah Small was here today as well and it gave us opportunity to congratulate her and her family on the $100 000 they raise for the Neonatal Intensive Care unit. The Julian Small Golf tournament is named for their young son who spent some time in NICU himself. Julian is such a wonderful boy and a great namesake for a fantastic event. We are so proud of you for what you are doing with this fundraiser and we offer you our congratulations and our best wishes and the event moves toward its fourth year next year. We are thrilled to have you in this parish.
Today is another good day to give thanks for belonging to such a great group of people.
God Bless St. Mark’s by-the-lake!
We all had a great time last night at Bob’s retirement party. There was plenty of good food, cheer and humour to go around. There was a great turn out and we all were pleased to celebrate with Bob his retirement from his custodial duties at the parish. Bob was so pleased with his print of St. Mark and his gift card for Rona. He will no doubt find a use for it as Rona is one of his favourite stores. I understand that he is also a fan of Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Home Hardware. Bob loves to build things and this should be a help with whatever project he has going.
Above all last night was another good opportunity for people to be together and together we were. Many thanks to Janet Forster for making Bob’s Cake and to all who came out to give Bob a special night.
Just a reminder one and all that tomorrow evening at Johnny Shotz – http://www.johnnyshotz.com – there will be a social to give thanks to Bob Cooper for his service to St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. We will be there from 7 PM onward to celebrate his retirement. Join us to honour him and to have a great time.