Sunday, February 07, 2010

the unexpected

I anticipated that January would be an extraordinary month around our church: the Clef Hangers (a capella ensemble) of UNC-Chapel Hill would be singing one Sunday morning; Dave Sanderson, a close friend and PUMC member would be reflecting on the experience of the "Miracle on the Hudson" one year later; and two good friends, Ashley Crowder Stanley of Wesley Memorial UMC in High Point and Jim Salley of Africa University would be sharing with our congregation. If all went well, we would adopt a budget that would allow us to continue the momentum of our mission. We had made our plans and it looked to be an extraordinary month.

In that mix was also a trip that my wife would take to Haiti, first to participate in a meeting of United Methodist leaders with deep involvements in that country, in Port au Prince, and then to travel within the country to Cap Haitien, where she would join a group of "Women on a Mission" for ongoing work at the School of Mercy. She found herself in Port au Prince on the day of the earthquake. She did survive the earthquake, and was able to leave the country several days later. If you google "Pam Carter Haiti" you can see and her some of her story, and she has spoken to a number of groups since her return. She and I will return to Cap Haitien next weekend, with a small group, to assess the needs of our work in healthcare, microcredit and education, and to worship with our friends in Cap Haitien.

What else has been happening? I traveled with a group of pastors to Florida to learn about evangelism and leadership---it is a remarkable collection of men and women; my newest book, Bread in the Wilderness, has just been published by Abingdon, just in time for Lent; I spoke to a wonderful gathering of United Methodists in Cleveland, on the topics of "Re-Think Church" and "Spiritual Practices"; and I have been working on the sermons and worship services that occur during Lent, Holy Week and Easter. The winter has been intense, packed with meaning and blessing; already, I eagerly await spring, the longer days and the rest that comes in the summer.


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