Dangling at Loose Ends
In case you haven’t noticed, it is Friday afternoon! This Dangling has arrived in your mailbox a day late!
Please accept my apologies. For the past several years that I’ve been sending you this weekly missive, I’d tried to keep to a strict schedule and have it sent every Thursday afternoon. (I should add, this has been accomplished in part through the efficiency of our Communications Director, Kim Mantegna!)
But these recent weeks have proven to be quite a challenge for me. (Is it okay for me to acknowledge this reality? We are, after all, old friends, aren’t we?) Between packing up my office, tying up loose ends, and interfacing with dear people in our Pearce family, I find myself unable to get everything done on time! Thanks for understanding and being so gracious to me.
By the way, that’s been a theme for the past ten years. So many of you have been gracious to me on numerous occasions. I am often reminded, usually in gentle ways, of my shortcoming, foibles, and failures. The words of the general confession in our Communion liturgy come to mind is such moments: “We sincerely repent, and we are genuinely sorry for all wrongdoing and every failure to do the things we should.”
If there is one message I want you to hear from me these final days of my sojourn as your lead pastor, it is this: “Thank you for being so gracious!” I have been blessed by you and am grateful for the many mercies that have been extended to me as your pastor. Sincerely, thank you!
A Story Well Worth Hearing
This year in our adult ministries at Pearce, we’ve been talking about loving our neighbor. Last February we presented a series of seminars on Loving My Neighbor of a Different Race. Then in April, we spent several evenings considering how we could better love our neighbor of a different generation. Beginning next week, we are holding a series of seminars on Loving My Refugee/Immigrant Neighbor.
This new series is beginning with a personal story from a member of our own family. In July of 2006, Jorge Tamayo made his way across the Gulf of Mexico in a small boat with fourteen other people from Cuba. At that time, Jorge was a young man of twenty-four years of age, single, and unsure what the future held for him. Now, eleven years later, Jorge is married to his wife, Meg, and the father of two young children. Most importantly, he has personally encountered Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
I’m going to interview Jorge this coming Wednesday, September 13, at 6:30pm in Pearce’s Friendship Center. I invite you to come and hear what it was like for this young man to leave his homeland and start a new life as a refugee in the United States.
(I took this photo of Jorge with his parents during a trip with him to visit his family in 2016.)
Speaking of Stories
This past July, Lydia and I had the opportunity to sit at a Tim Horton’s in Greece and visit with Sandra Uwiringiyimana. She is the author of a wonderful new book entitled How Dare the Sun Rise: Memories of a War Child. In this compelling book, Sandra writes of her experience in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, her ordeal in a refugee camp in Burundi, and her eventual journey to Rochester, New York where her family was welcomed and embraced by the New Hope Free Methodist congregation. (Her brother, Pastor Heritage, leads El Shaddai, the newest Free Methodist congregation in our city!)
I’ve chosen Sandra’s book for my final “Pearce Reads” selection.
A review of the book in The New York Times noted: “This gut-wrenching, poetic memoir reminds us that no life story can be reduced to the word ‘refugee.’” Abigail Pesta, writing in Kirkus Review summarized the book as one that “carries readers on a journey of self—of discovering, losing, and finding it again, she becomes a powerful voice for many who are silenced girls, women, and immigrants everywhere, refugees in particular.”
Your copy of this book is available for a $12 donation. Pick it up this weekend on the book rack in Pearce’s lobby.