Today began with my saying goodbye to my friend Mark and his wife Jane. I thank them again for their kindness and hospitality in housing me these past three days. Mark, however, was quite the pain in his insistence on paying for everything. Thanks again for that as well Mark, and you’ll get yours if and when you ever come up to Pennsylvania to visit.
An hour later found me outside of St. Elizabeth’s and in front of “The Speckled Bird,” a small cafe owned and operated by two members of the Vineyard Central community. It reminded me a great deal of Churchill, the coffee shop/cafe in Pottstown, where I serve as a barista about 7 hours a week. Jill and Jona are the owner/operators, and Jill makes a great caramel macchiatto, even though it’s not officially on the menu. If you are ever in the Cincinnati area, and particularly Norwood, make sure to stop by. Their store is pictured below, as are the happy couple. Jill also made the banner which served as the backdrop for our gatherings (and she did it in less than a week!).
Today I also met several “bloggers” that I have been reading for a while: Alan Creech, Kyle Potter, and Amy Palmer. It was really good to meet the real live people behind the blogs. I also attended a breakout session led by Alan Creech on “Liturgy – the Longhaul Life of the Community (more on this later), and I will hopefully be able to attend his house church “Vine and Branches” this Sunday evening in Lexington.
I was also able to get on touch, for the first time in years, with Mark Girard, who was the director of The Wesley Foundation at Eastern Kentucky University while I was a student there. Mark is directly responsible for my entering ministry in the first place, and he gave me my first “paying gig” in ministry during the 1985-86 academic year when I served as Student Assistant Minister at the Foundation. For this, I have D. G. Hollums to thank. D. G. is a United Methodist pastor of a new church plant called “The Waters,” and he heard me mention Mark’s name in conversation and told me he’d get me Mark’s info, which he did (It seems D. G.’s wife was the youth minister in Mark’s last church). Anyway, Mark is now a District Superintendent in the Kentucky Conference (a good person to know if I ever want to go back to Kentucky), and I hope to renew my relationship with him in the months to come.
There are a few more sessions today, and we close with dinner together. I will then drive to my Mom’s house in Bloomfield, KY to stay for a couple of days while I visit her, my brother Kevin and my Dad. I doubt that I will have access to wireless while there, so my next post may not be until Tuesday – we’ll see.
Until then . . .