She was just the way you would imagine her. Lovely in an unassuming, gracious way. Open to everyone. Enjoying the simplest of things on the most ordinary of days. I am speaking of the noted Presbyterian poet, Ann Weems, who died this year in March. It was my real pleasure to meet her at a General Assembly. In fact we were staying in the same cut-rate hotel where breakfast consisted only of weak coffee and big, open boxes of frosted donuts. You get the picture, don’t you? We sat each morning in the breakfast room drinking that coffee and wolfing down the donuts. And as we did she would gently talk, ask questions, and bring us under her spell. Her poetry did the same thing, I think. Her words were gentle, never harsh and always brimming over with wonder. And they were also filled with an awareness of God’s gifts to us … in each life … in every moment … and, especially, in the Gift of Christ. Her poems for Advent and Christmas demonstrated that awareness particularly. It seems right, therefore, to share bits of some of her poems for Christmas with you as we move toward that great day and remember the gifts that Ann Weems gave to the whole church.
There are those who scoff at miracles.
I don’t know what they make of the birth of the Child.
For that matter,
I don’t know what they make of the birth of any child.
From “Christmas Miracle”
Christmas comes every time we see God in other persons….
Even now it comes
In the face of hatred and warring –
no atrocity too terrible to stop it,
no Herod strong enough,
no hurt deep enough,
no curse shocking enough,
no disaster shattering enough.
For someone on earth will see the star,
someone will hear the angel voices,
someone will run to Bethlehem,
someone will know peace and goodwill:
the Christ will be born!
From “Christmas Comes”
And this year, when it’s time to pack the figures away,
we’ll be more careful that the Peace and Goodwill
are not also boxed for another year!
"Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race" is not only a provocative book title. It is also the basis of an opportunity for deep and important conversation in the Presbytery. Along with conversation, sponsored by the Racial Ethnic Diversity Work Group and led by Ann Christensen, there will be foods … that you all bring! Two opportunities are available for sharing. The first will be on January 17 at 6:00 p.m. The second is February 11, beginning at noon. Both will be held at the Presbytery Center. Click here to RSVP. You can order books at The Thoughtful Christian.
The Presbytery Assembly on January 24 at Capitol Heights Church. The pre-assembly, led by the Rev. Tom Trinidad, former Vice-moderator of the General Assembly, will focus on the proposed new Directory for Worship. Tom also served as a consultant to the Directory for Worship Task Force. The stated meeting at 6:00 p.m. will include the installation of the moderator, vice-moderator and treasurer of the Presbytery as well as consideration of a recommendation to list the Presbytery Center for sale.
The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators’ Annual Event will be held in Denver from January 25 – 28. Our local committee has been hard at work. There are also important pre-conference opportunities, click here to find out more.
Give Thanks for Cathy Ulrich and Joann Goss on January 31! Join together to recognize the ministries of Cathy as she completes her service as interim stated clerk and Joann as she completes her term as Presbytery Treasurer. An informal reception will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Presbytery Center with a brief program at 5:00 p.m. You are asked to RSVP at the Presbytery website by January 25, click here to RSVP.
Mental Health First Aid on February 15th The first Mental Health First Aid was an outstanding event. A second opportunity is now available for you. Click here to register on-line.