I got a big surprise the other day.  A friend of mine, Carl Addison Swanson, who writes pulp fiction, told me that I was a character in his new book, who would make brief appearance toward the end of the story.  At first I was rather excited and pleased, but then knowing pulp fiction, (lotta killin’–lotta sex) I became a tad concerned… but then it is “fiction,” right?  In turn, I thought it only fair that I mention Carl, a self-declared atheist, in my Christian eNews article.

Carl and I grew up in Westport, CT, but were never really friends back then.  We were born the same year, went to the same church and high school, but never hung out in the same social circles.  He was more of a jock, and I did the music drama thing.  We had no opinion of each other either way.  We knew who each other were, but that was about it.  We did and still do know, however, many of the same people in our class, most of whom we now talk (gossip) about with great abandon.

We got reacquainted on Facebook where the Staples High School Class of 1966 has a page.  Over time, Carl’s and my posts reflected similar attitudes and opinions.  Though we never got together all the time I lived in New England and New York (he currently lives in Westport), twice now, I have made it a point to stop by for a visit when I journey back east from California.  Each visit with Carl and his partner, Jo Ann has proved to be the highlight of each trip.

Why am I writing about this?  I guess out of gratitude.  I am grateful for friendships, for people that care, for people who take an active interest in my wellbeing.  I see it as one of the most beautiful things about creation as it relates to human beings.  The command of “neighbor love” can really be a chore sometimes, challenging and stretching ones limits and patience to the nth degree.  Then there is the neighbor love that is so easy that its like putting on a pair of old slippers-–the grace-filled kind where an atheist and a Christian can write about each other motivated by mutual love and respect.

By the way, Carl’s book can be downloaded to you reader on Amazon: Killer Cookie Dough: Tug Thriller by Carl Addison Swanson.


Harvest Festival

Sunday, October 26, 10:00 Worship Service and following….

Harvest Festival!  Musical Extravaganza!  Pot Luck!   This is something you just don’t want to miss: music, music, and more music–food, food, and more food, following the service.  There will be a hymn sing, several gospel songs, an anthem by our choir, a “hymn sandwich” by our pastor for sure, and our featured special guests, The M’Earthtones.  What will really make the day even more special is that we will have four new members joining our church that day as well!  After the service there will be a pot-luck (bring a salad or a main dish to share).  We’ll provide a drinks plus a delicious Harvest Home desert.  So come join us!  Celebrate the Harvest!

Members One of Another

In our discussion of Neighbors in Need during Sunday worship, I made a point that I really would like to reiterate in my little column for our church’s eNews. That is that within our own building we have immediate neighbors, namely our All Are Friends, Montessori preschool. They are our neighbors. The children, teachers, and extended family members who are involved are in need of our church to provide an efficiently managed and safe center for learning. The church takes great care though the advisory board made up of church members and school parents to make sure this happens. As pastor, I am very proud to be a part of this board.

It should be noted too, that we are a “neighbor in need” to the preschool. Let’s face it, without the income generated by the preschool, it is doubtful our little church would be able to survive financially on just pledged income alone. And yet for us to think of the preschool as just a business, or money making venture to insure our future, is definitely the wrong approach to our sharing the building. Simply stated, our church needs the stimulation of their youth; they need the collective wisdom of what our experiences have been over the years.

Whenever I am in town, I try to spend time with the children by singing songs, chatting and just having fun. I have become, I’m sure, a grandfatherly image to them, “Ol’ Pastor Jarv”. I enjoy the teachers and children very much. I feel it is an important aspect of my work here, to help bridge the gap between church and school, that we All Are Friends.

This fall starting in November, our church is going to sponsor the first of four parenting programs for the families of the preschool. I need as many members of our church who are able to attend. May we extend welcoming hands offering hospitality and thereby help dissolve the wall that separates our two communities. We are not only neighbors in need, but “members one of another”.