Sunday, May 8, 2016

West Branch Day 3

After a weekend full of new experiences for me-  learning about Muncy,  making my first trip into a prison, visiting the Bald Eagle Project, enjoying dinner with the GLEAM folks at the airport, hanging out at the First Friday in Downtown Williamsport, trout stocking, leek hunting and meeting new friends at the Christ Church community dinner, I figured that Sunday would be… like lots of other Sundays:  Church. At 8 and 10.

And it was-  but it was special, too, in new ways for me.  I got to stand at the altar with my cousin Charlie Plankenhorn who assisted at the 8:00 service (how I wish my grandmother and mom could have seen that!) and he brought me some old family photos for me to take home. One of them was of me at age 15. Yikes. (bad hair, bad sweater, bad bell bottom corduroys.)   The service was in the chapel at Trinity, Williamsport where we had a small congregation of about 15 or so.

The 10 AM service included the sacramental rite of Confirmation which was the first time that I’ve participated in a service with students who have been through the “Confirm not Conform” program.  The service featured each of the 5 confirmands reading a bible verse that they had chosen as their special verse and then speaking about its significance for them.  The variety was great- something from Joshua, I Corinthians, Hebrews, a psalm, and the gospel of Matthew. Their speeches were brief but well-written and it was a joy to see them each step into the pulpit and deliver their address.  I especially liked how each child was called forward with the phrase “N., Come and Teach.”  There were two adults who were received into the church at this service, too, which is always a moment of grace; I am moved by those who choose to affirm their choice of a new church home in this way.

The service also featured some ladies of the parish who were wearing hats for the first annual “hat wearing Sunday.” It was the final Sunday of the program year for the excellent college-aged section leaders who support the choir, and they sang a lovely motet on their own.  The anthem that was featured was Friedells’ “In the Spirit’s Tether” which is one of my very favorite choral pieces on the theme of the Holy Spirit.

This was my second visit to Trinity (Palm Sunday was my first) and it felt comfortable and easy.  I even recognized some of the parishioners!

I’ll be back on Tuesday night in Williamsport leading a seminar on ministry to children with Special Needs but for the next 36 hours or so, it’s back to Mechanicsburg and the Cumberland Valley.

We’re having trout tonight, and asparagus and sautéed ramps-  edible mementoes of our fine 3 Day trip to the West Branch Convocation!

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