The Presbyterians in Pendleton, Oregon, celebrated their 125th anniversary this past weekend.
What I loved about this celebration was the enthusiasm of the people who'd been working for over a year on the big weekend festivities. I got to meet with the committee, eat and laugh with them and see how they cared for each other "Does Eleanor have a ride?" one member asked. It's wonderful to see energy in a faith community celebrating not just the church but the work of a people caring for each other and community for the past 125 years.
I spoke at their banquet Saturday evening and had been given a history of the church to peruse, among other things, to help me prepare. It was a great read! It spoke of generosity and challenge, of change and resilience. Many of the members are from wheat ranching families and for years at harvest they'd donate trainloads of wheat to be sent to refugees around the world. In 1901, for example, their budget for local and foreign missions was sixteen dollars while the building fund garnered a mere nine. I think they had their priorities right.
When I'm asked to speak at such events I'm humbled by what people can do when they make a commitment. How could those six families who began this church in 1885 know that one day 125 years later others would still be celebrating their faith? It's what happens when you make a commitment though: Providence moves.
Here's part of my reason for not posting for so long...we've been in Greece. This was taken on Santorini, an island that is part of an old volcano in the Agean Sea. All the buildings are white and many have blue accents. This was an old church railing and I went inside and lit a candle in prayer for those in my life who are in physical and mental pain.
If you buy a particular brand of Greek yogurt (I love Greek yogurt!) you'll see photographs of white buildings with blue roofs and those were taken on Santorini. We'll go back one day I hope, when the weather is the clear blue sky one usually sees there. We arrived right after a storm.
One of the fascinating things on this island for Jerry and me, as people who tried to grow grapes, is how the local growers have adapted the vines to deal with the limited rainfall and the high winds on the island. They've trained the vines to be close to the ground in a circular fashion. They appear wrapped into a kind of basket-like shape with the grapes lying to the inside of the basket. They're protected and easily harvested that way. Very inventive! We were on a bus and couldn't get photographs so your imagination will have to kick in here.
I'll have more photographs coming soon when we figure out how to load Jerry's 1100 shots onto a disk so I can access them more easily! I took a few hundred with my IPhone that I'm just figuring out how to access. I had the phone a month before I realized I had phone messages for me in there! Ah technology!
But know that I was thinking of you all while having a great time in Greece. Now it's back to work telling stories. Have a great day! Jane