In the last fortnight I've made a couple of trips that were significant to me back across the Allegheny River from where I live in Lower Burrell.
On Sunday, June 19 I went to Brackenridge to officiate at the wedding of Brian Waters and Heather Basista.
The couple had decided to include a ceremony I had never seen before. Similar in concept to the unity candle, the couple poured two colors of sand into a common vessel.
The following Saturday, June 25, I went into Tarentum because I had heard about a Mission Fair and Strawberry Festival that was going to happen at the Central Presbyterian Church of Tarentum. I crossed the bridge early and walked around Tarentum for a while. A friend recognized me while we crossed a street going in opposite directions. "Five days away from heroin," he announced with a smile.
I gave him a thumbs up and said, "Keep it up." What a difficult journey people face when fighting addictions. It can be a very long journey that one has to start over many times.
I decided to use some of my free time to relax in Riverview Park for a little while. I sat at a bench and looked across the river. Water is such a significant symbol of God's activity for me, representing cleansing, healing, renewal, freedom, and also destruction.
Over at Central Presbyterian Church I found a flurry of activity, and I appreciated the opportunity to chat with many old friends. The Clothing Closet had changed its hours for this event, and many people were checking out the clothing that was available. A number of organizations had representatives at tables: The Allegheny Valley Association of Churches, the Alle-Kiski Hope Center, the Highlands Family Center, Tarentum History and Landmarks, Central Quilters, to name just a few. There was an a la carte lunch, and the dessert was cake and strawberries and ice cream. The whole event was to support mission, generating funds that would not stay in the small congregation.