Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sights, sounds, tastes, feelings at the end of November

This is just a description of random observations from yesterday.

When I woke in the morning I was hearing gunshots in the distance from various directions. It was the first day of rifle season for hunting deer and my apartment was on the top of a hill overlooking the Allegheny valley, so I often hear sounds that come from a distance. I remembered that the previous day in worship at Puckety Presbyterian Church one of the prayer requests was for the hunters. Ever since I moved to Western Pennsylvania, it has been my consistent experience that someone makes this prayer request in church on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. So the day started with sounds that reminded me to pray.

Part of my day involved making a hospital visit at the Alle-Kiski Medical Center. Before I made it in the door I was amazed at the beautiful clouds in the sky. Truly the heavens declare God's handiwork!

Photo of clouds 11-29-2010

Photo of clouds 11-29-2010

When I stopped for lunch in the hospital cafeteria, I was surprised to hear the sounds of accordion playing in the dining room. A musician was there playing for the entertainment of the volunteers, staff, and visitors. He only played a few polkas, but people sitting at the table closest to him were making requests, and he clearly knew a lot of music. The cafeteria was offering kielbasa, pierogies, potato pancakes, and halushki. It must have been in honor of some Polish holiday. I found on the internet that November 29 is a celebration called Andrzejki (St. Andrew's Eve); I was not sure if the day was special for that or if it was a remembrance of the November uprising in 1830. Whatever was the occasion for this Polish theme, it made for a memorable and tasty lunch.

I went back to Puckety Church in the afternoon to do some cleaning out of my office. On Sunday I had not noticed the creche set out in front of the church.

Photo of creche in front of Puckety Presbyterian Church 11-29-2010 Lower Burrell

I took home from the office the few items I had brought at the start of the month: my preaching robe and the selection of stoles I had planned to use for the month. As I folded them up I recognized that I was going through another transition in my life. Even though I was only going to be at Puckety for a short time, it had been significant to me to have a place to hang my robe, where it would be ready for me on Sunday morning. Of course, I still have a place to hang my robe in my closet at home, but there is a different feeling when one has a regular workplace where a few personal tools and items can remain for when they are needed. I was reminded of how many offices, cubicles, or lockers have been vacated by so many people affected by the downturn in the economy. So many people have been going through these transitions. God is leading us somewhere.

Sunday was the last of the series of four Sundays where I had preached at Puckety, and a number of people had kind words to say about how I had been helpful during the month. The congregation is definitely is looking forward to the arrival of Rev. Kirk Orr this week. This will be a good Advent season for them, and I am glad if I was able to do anything to help them prepare for it.

For those who are interested in where they will be able to hear me preach in December, I have been booked for two Sundays next month. This Sunday, December 5, I will be at the Worthington Presbyterian Church. And then Christmas Eve, I will lead the service at the Calvin United Presbyterian Church in Scottdale.

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

My work in November

During the month of November I am working at the Puckety Presbyterian Church here in Lower Burrell. The congregation recently elected the Rev. Kirk Orr as pastor, and I will be providing pastoral care services before he moves up here and starts.

In addition to preaching every Sunday in November and doing some pastoral visitation, I will moderate one meeting of the church's session.

From the pastor's study I look across the church parking lot to the Burrell High School.

It feels good to be back into a weekly work schedule connected to a congregation. In supply preaching my responsibilities have been limited to preparing a sermon and leading worship.

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