What a joy and privilege to share the good news: Laurie Varley has accepted our call to serve as our new Sunday School Director! Yesterday was her first official day. She has already spent hours with her predecessor Lisa Ste. Marie (thank you, Lisa!) and has begun planning for Vacation Bible School, August 22-26, and the next year of Sunday School.
Laurie comes to us from the First Congregational Church, UCC, of Guilford, where she and her family are members. At First Church, Laurie has taught Sunday School, helped plan and lead their Vacation Bible School, served on their Children's Education Board, and helped initiate a mixed-ages summer Sunday morning program. During a period of staff transitions at First Church, Laurie served as "Bridge," or interim, Coordinator for the church-wide family activities that she had previously supported as a volunteer.
Some parents and children may be acquainted with Laurie through her work as a paraprofessional at Adams Middle School. Laurie, her husband and daughter, live in Gulford.
A native of North Carolina, Laurie served as staff youth director for a Baptist church, and was entrusted with increasing levels of leadership and responsibilities over her many years of involvement in the North Carolina Baptist Assembly.
Laurie was looking for a "next opportunity" where she could serve God's children with her gifts for faithful creativity. So God has led her down the Green to us! Her glowing references were convinced she would be a very good for us at Christ Church. And I am so grateful!
I am also grateful to our Sunday School teachers who helped craft a new announcement for the position, and who knew where to post it so it was seen. We received at least 12 serious inquiries, 10 resumes, and conducted five interviews. I'm especially grateful to Donna Lafata and Lisa Ste. Marie for their help with this last task.
Children and parents can look forward to getting well-acquainted with Laurie at Vacation Bible School, August 22-26. Please get those dates on your family calendar!
Now, onto a sad subject: Orlando. How horrible that "Orlando," now joins, "Sandy Hook," "San Bernadino," "Roseburg," "Charleston," and "Columbine" among sites of mass shootings; we have only to hear these locations, and the death of innocents comes to mind. As it happens, I had to preach on Monday for one of my classes at Sewanee's School of Theology; the assignment specified only the inclusion of a poem we had read in class and ten-minute length. But there was no getting around Orlando. Jane Ferrall has kindly posted that sermon on our website with a very evocative image. [It's the blog post immediately below this one.]
On the Episcopal Church in Connecticut's website you can find information about a Vigil that will be offered at our Cathedral in Hartford this evening, at 7 p.m. ( If you read my sermon, you'll know that if I were in Connecticut, I'd be there.) That's the opening image (the first button) on the homepage. The next button has a link to a joint statement from our Bishops, +Ian Douglas and +Laura Ahrens; I commend it to you. It's hard to find any "Good News" amidst such devastating sadness; but my colleague Alex Dyer+, now interim at Old St. Andrew's in Bloomfield, recalled this observation by Craig Koester: "from an earthly perspective, evil can seem so persuasive and even unstoppable. But from a heavenly perspective – evil and darkness – rages on earth not because they are so powerful but because they know they have already lost."
Sometimes it's hard to see the light amidst the darkness, but that's a glimpse for me!
I had a nice message from +Jane Stickney; she felt warmly welcomed last Sunday! I'm not surprised, but I am grateful. You have a second opportunity to worship with her this Sunday, June 19.
With love and prayers from Tennessee,
p.s. Here's an announcement from Rose Robinson: Cookbook rewriting party. Do you have good handwriting? If so, please join Rose for a small re-writing and assembling recipes gathering on Thursday, June 23rd, at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall – refreshments will be served.
The May/June issue of GTO: Glad Tidings Online is now available by clicking here. It includes details about parish leadership in June and July while I am on study-leave and vacation.
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!