CTPress December 6, 2019

Hello, Church!

I hope early December finds you well! It is a busy time of year for all of us. I want to take some time to tell you about two upcoming events, one this weekend, one beginning in January.

Christmas Parade

2004 marked my first Christmas Parade in Charles Town. I was very surprised that we had neither an entry into the parade, nor any kind of outreach as the parade and spectators made their way past our front doors. I asked around and two things became clear – families usually had kids in the parade in other groups like marching band, and some kind of outreach was a new idea. The reasons for our absence in the parade made some sense, but the lack of outreach on this day when hundreds of people were right on our doorstop – that was unclear to me. I gently pushed for a few years to no avail, so I dropped it.

Last year, though, the Missions and Outreach committee came up with a brilliant idea: To serve hot dogs, chips, and hot drinks to the crowd. We wouldn’t charge anything, but we would take donations. But the money wasn’t the point. We were there to serve and let people know what was happening this Christmas season at the church. And you know how this went. Bad weather shortened the parade and killed turnout. But we are not deterred. We are trying again this year, at the parade this Saturday! Stop by, say hello, welcome people and even help serve the food.

Waking Up White

In 2020 I am leading a book study on Waking Up White, by Debby Irving. Shenandoah Presbytery read this book last year and it made for some very challenging conversations. I will admit that I was reluctant to read this book; I never considered myself racist, and to be honest, I was afraid of what I might find. Waking Up White has served as launching point for me for some incredible learning and self-discovery. The first meeting of this book study will be Saturday, January 11 at 9:30am in the church parlor. Each participant is responsible for obtaining their own copy of the book, which you can find here. This study will be open to everyone, but I do ask that you come having read the material for each meeting ahead of time. For our meeting on January 11, please read the first five chapters and the introduc-tion (22 pages), and think through the question(s) at the end of each chapter.

This is a very exciting time of the year, and I look forward to all our activities!

See you at the parade,

Pastor John