Monday, April 25, 2011

The Sears Catalog

Priscilla's father loved to tell the stories of growing-up in rural northeast Georgia. He remembered vividly ordering items from the Sears Roebuck catalog- he still laughed about ordering batteries that cost less than the postage! There was something special about being able to look through that wish book and choose an item, color, style, size and make it "just right" for you. Somehow going on-line doesn't seem quite as magical!

Easter Sunday was that sort of "mail order" day. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful spring-time morning in north Georgia. We were blessed with a packed-house of joyful worshipers, wonderful music, the celebration of baptism, and, of course, an abundance of children (I think we blew the "cute factor" off the scale!).

Our Easter "pumps" had been primed through-out the week. Opportunities for service like the Bulgaria mission fund-raiser and Easter Eggstravaganza were outstanding successes. Our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday service offered meaningful opportunities for reflection and worship. All this was made possible by a "cast of thousands" (at least it seemed like that many) who gladly shared the gifts of their time, energy, and skills.

I can't wait for next year's catalog to arrive!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Lagniappe is a wonderful word. Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi says it is "a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get." It's hard for a dictionary to define most anything cajun but the book definition is "something given gratuitously or by way of good measure." Basically lagniappe is more of an experience than a word, it is something added, that unexpected extra. In the vocabulary of faith we call these blessings.

I am reveling in a lagniappe moment now-- and it hasn't even happened yet! You see, Saturday afternoon we'll have our Bluegrass and Burgers for Bulgaria event. The purpose of the event is to raise funds to support our team that will be in Bulgaria May 28-June 5 to assist in the opening of the Borovtsi Training and Transition Center. This team, members include Lorraine Roote, Hyacinth Crooks, and Teresa Denmark (joined by Tom and Lorraine's daughter, Patti Lowe)will be our fifth to assist missionaries Paul and Judy Ridgway. The money we raise will help off-set costs and provide supplies for the trip.

The lagniappe, the blessing if you will, is in all that is going on to make the event possible. Our Missions Committee (Hyacinth Crooks, Charles Dixon, Alison Nokes, Shirley Morris, John Trimble) has given generously of their time and skills. Other members of our fellowship have jumped-in, friends, neighbors, and local businesses have joined in making, donating, and volunteering.

Food, music, games, silent auction... all these will help meet our goal of raising money. The development of fellowship, leadership, service, friendships, generous spirits, a sense of mission... now that's lagniappe from God!

**all that stuff in the first paragraph came from Wikipedia
**for more information about the Transition Center, Bulgarian Child, Inc., and missionaries Paul and Judy Ridgway go to

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Future Starts Now

As a congregation we are in the process of discerning God's direction in two key areas of our church life: the master planning of our land and facilities; and the shaping of ministry staff. The decisions we ultimately make in these two areas will shape the ministry of Towne View Baptist Church long into the future. In that sense, the future starts now!

Our Site Planning Committee and Personnel Committee are seeking the input of our membership as they fulfill their responsibilities. You may participate by completing the survey prepared by each committee. Go to our church website and click the "church survey" button. Each survey takes about five minutes to complete... even I could do it! Paper copies are available at church if you aren't internet active or encounter difficulties on-line.

Further opportunities for involvement will come as the committees schedule "listening groups" for informal conversations and more formal discussions during congregational business sessions. Any final decisions will be made by the congregation.

As a church we seek to hear and follow God's direction in a variety of ways. We begin with individual prayer, continue with the enlistment of gifted members to study and pray through their committee processes, and as baptists, we trust God to speak through the decisions of the church body. Your participation in the process isn't just about expressing your personal preferences, it is a part of the larger task of discovering God's direction for our church and its ministry. The future starts now!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A walk on the beach

Yesterday I had the best therapy session psychotherapy can provide... a long walk on the beach!

There is something uniquely refreshing about sand between your toes, the warmth of the south Florida sun, and the gentle breeze. Where else can you watch sand pipers chasing the waves, pelicans bobbing for fish, and sea gulls squabbling over leftovers?

I stopped to gaze past the whitecaps and the scattered watercraft to the expanse of the horizon. It's interesting how in one moment you can feel so... small. I remembered a prayer by a Brighton (England) fisherman... "Lord, the sea is so big and my boat is so small."