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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Way too busy!!

Last weekend was very busy. On Friday evening, friends from the River Edge church came over for dinner and were joined by my musical partner in crime, Eric Anderson. Eric stayed the night and, on Saturday, we performed at the Cresskill United Church of Christ, in a benefit concert for the church. Boys in Hats had been repeatedly advertised as a "country music duo," so, while we never perform country music, we performed John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Road."

On Sunday, I participated in worship at Christ Episcopal Church in Suffern, NY. After the service, the congregation remained in their seats and I gave a presentation on Amistad. My son, Ian, is amazed at how I'm still "on the circuit" with my PowerPoint presentation and souvenirs, even a year after getting back from my sabbatical, but the information is still current and people still want to hear it. The history of the event hasn't changed and the realities of injustice remain a part of the human condition. We followed that event up by spending the afternoon with a Methodist colleague, Penny Gadzini, and her family.

With a Holy Week startup, there's been a lot of planning to do with my new church in Norwalk, so Monday took me back to Connecticut, where I had a meeting with the church staff, a meeting with the interim pastor, a meeting with another local pastor to plan the joint Maundy Thursday service, and, finally, a meeting with the Church Council.

After getting back home, there's been plenty of electronic communication about getting the church's new website up and running. (Several of you have mentioned that the site is WAY out of date. We know. Basically, it is just a placeholder and the new site, http://www.norwalkfirstcongregational.org/, should be up fairly soon. Bear with us.) In addition, there has been lots of planning for Holy Week ads for the newspaper, an interview for that same newspaper, and a set of banners to hang from the front pillars of the church.

The banners have been somewhat amusing to me. I remember, several years ago, attending a pastor's installation that felt much more like a coronation than a church event, and I've tried to avoid giving anyone that impression, particularly since I'll be starting my public ministry at the church on Palm Sunday. I've been joking that we all need to remember is that Palm Sunday is the day that we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, not the triumphal entry of Paul Bryant-Smith into Norwalk. Even so, there's going to be a pair of banners hanging from the pillars in front of the church, one with an invitation for people to worship there during Holy Week and one welcoming me to the church and letting everyone know that, after four years, the church has a permanent senior pastor. We're hanging the Holy Week banner on the left and "my" banner on the right -- in an effort to make sure that Jesus gets top billing.





Beyond that, I've managed to go computer shopping this week, buying a new laptop computer for my new job, and have also cleaned out the garage.

Tomorrow, I'll be preaching at the Cresskill United Church of Christ, where my family has been worshipping since we left the River Edge church. This week, the pastor, David "Bo" Bocock" landed in the hospital, so I'm giving him a break so he can rest and recuperate. On Friday, Eric and I will be at North Congregational Church in Middletown, NY, then I'm going to be at Community United Church of Christ in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, on Sunday to preach and give another Amistad presentation.

I can't wait to be working full-time so I can relax!

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