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Pastor’s Message – January/February 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

Let’s talk about the year behind us and the one in which we now find ourselves. In that old TV show, The Dukes of Hazard, Bo and Luke Duke were forever being chased by the sheriff of Hazard County. But as soon as they sped across the border into the next county, they were safe, and the sheriff would jump out of his car, and shake his fist, and throw his cowboy hat on the ground. His jurisdiction ended at the county line. I think some of us almost thought that 2021 would be the county line, and the ills of 2020 would come screeching to an angry halt on December 31 of that year, unable to reach us.

Alas, such is not the case! And yet, we survived the trials and troubles of the past year, haven’t we? What got us through it? The habit of survival. Hope for a better day. Maybe a dash of faith. The joys that we’ve built up over the course of a lifetime helped to keep us cheerful and focused, too, knowing that joy is possible and perennial. We took comfort in those things that have always sheltered us and helped us to make sense of hard times. Or, as the psalmist says, “You who abide in the shadow of the Almighty will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress’.” The strength that guided us through the days past will lead us into tomorrow, and into this New Year—whatever it brings.

In early January, we bid a fond farewell to Bill Cadwell. Bill has been our very thorough and meticulous clerk of session since 2008. Indeed, we have never had another clerk in my time at Bower Hill. He has spent these past twelve years creating order and leaving us with carefully-worded documents instructing us on how-to-do-what and when. We will miss Bill sorely, but we celebrate the next chapter of his life. He is moving to North Carolina to be close to his daughter. Thank you, Bill, and Godspeed!

2020, for all its misfortunes, did push us rapidly into the 21st century. Our Communication Committee responded with speed and skill in putting our programs and services online, and our musicians and choir excelled (and still excel) at bringing us first-rate worship music—recorded privately in their homes and combined into a virtual choir.

Also in 2020, it became possible to make online financial contributions to our church. As Covid-19 pushed us to increase our online presence, people from faraway places began attending our virtual worship services and looking for ways to make the occasional contribution. Some sent checks, but now they can simply go to our website and click on the “giving” button. Of course, we are always grateful for any gift to our ministry, but if you are a regular contributor, it’s still best to give through your bank, or with a check, because online gifts always entail a transaction fee.

And now the short month of February stretches out ahead of us. The holy season of Lent begins with an Ash Wednesday service, online, on February 17. Watch your inbox for details. The Eco-Justice Team will be making suggestions for Lenten practices centered in Earth care. Also, be sure to check your emails for announcements concerning our evening services in Lent. Happy February, friends. And how shall we live the day that has been given us? “In the shelter of the Most High, in the shadow of the Almighty.”

In Christ’s Peace,



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