The waters rose past the pews and over the chancel at the Cypress Creek Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Houston, TX, where my good friend Rev. Bruce Frogge (pronounce Froche) is serving. Bruce posted a live stream on his FB page showing the devastation. It was hard not to stop the tears. Bruce is such a great pastor and has such a passion for people, I already know he will do EVERYTHING in his power to bring an end to the suffering in the area, and not simply to rebuilding the church.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with how our Week of Compassion Offering works, a call is made to the local pastors from our offices to see how to help local congregations and their families. This call is made EARLY in the process and followed up by the W.O.C. staff.
More than a phone call, W.O.C. resources will come pouring in with people who want to help. Expect a mission station to be set up for the long recovery. You will be able to donate time, money and prayers to the people of Houston.
Long after the rain and flood waters recede, W.O.C. recovery efforts will continue. Working with our Local Pastors, our church will remain diligent until the recovery is complete.
Much of this information comes from firsthand experience with the W.O.C. staff (we went through a flood while I was serving in Indiana). Nora and I helped with the Katrina rebuilding project in 2008 (2 ½ years after that disaster). We stayed in a W.O.C. mission station and helped rebuild homes in the 8th and 9th Wards (hardest hit) in New Orleans.
I highly suspect such a mission station will be added to the “To Do” list of our national staff.
Stay Tuned for more. There are lots of ways to help.
BTW – Week of Compassion has a B+ rating (equal to the American Red Cross). These rating are based on actual dollars used for mission and how much is used for operational costs (yes, those costs are real, and our staff makes every effort to keep those low).
Prayers for the people of Houston,
Interim Pastor Neil Allen
Elder Meditation by Kat Robinson given on Sunday, August 20, 2017.
This week, I’ve been sad. You see I am a UVA graduate. I love Charlottesville. I love how the serpentine walls wind across the grounds. I love standing in front of the Rotunda, time traveling. In case you are wondering, yes, I would have been in the crowd with dear friends by my side walking to demonstrate my belief that hate cannot win. But right now, in this moment, I confess that it feels like it did win...at least for a while.
I am sad that our public gaze has been pulled into a world of non-tolerance and hate once again. It hurts.
Yes, we need to have conversations re: race and our history. Yes, we need to look at our present in the full light of what we’ve seen this week. We cannot separate ourselves. We have to figure this out. No, I will not think that we cannot move forward. No, I will not settle for a quiet peace. I want a loud, joyous peace. I want strong handshakes and hugs. I want boisterous laughter and I want committed movement toward justice. I want to share the table with my friends...black. Jewish, white...all of them.
It has been a sad week and it got harder. I believe in signs. A few weeks ago, I woke from a dream sweating. My dream took place in front of the tram at SeaTac airport. The tram doors opened and out walked my mother. She stared straight at me and said "I'm looking for your dad". Later that morning, I called my sister and shared my dream. I called Dad more frequently. My sister visited him 3 times in the past 5 weeks. This morning my brother-in-law called to share that my Dad had passed away.
Perhaps you believe in signs also. Perhaps you don't. I don't know, but here's something I know...everyone hurts. Sometimes hurt happens in a very public fashion, sometimes it's in the quiet as the morning wakens. Hurt is hurt. To move forward, we have to acknowledge that people are hurting in ways that may not be seen, may not be acceptable, may not be productive. Perhaps if we acknowledge the hurt, we can begin to move forward.
As we walk on our paths this week, let us acknowledge where we see pain, so that we can better address how we are all hurting.
God bless us and the world around us as we move forward.
In 1957 my cousin Jr. showed me his switchblade. He said it was “necessary to carry it on the streets of Detroit, Michigan.” I was only 7 at the time, and it made me afraid for my cousin. He talked about the African Americans of the city by using the “n” word and spewed (I can’t think of a word strong enough to describe it) hatred and violence toward them.
I didn’t know it then, but that was the last time I saw him. Shortly thereafter, he ran away from home.
The family searched for him, but had no luck finding him. I guess they all figured he was dead. Seven year olds just wonder about such things.
30+ years later his sister exclaimed, “We found him.” He was living in a mobile home in Charlottesville, VA, of all places. He was a grandfather with a plethora of kids.
It was joyful thought to me that my cousin was alive, that he got to speak with his dad on the phone before my Uncle died, and that I had a boat load of cousins living in Charlottesville, VA….until yesterday.
As the posted pictures scrolled past my eyes, I searched the crowd for young men that looked like they might be related. Frankly, I saw more than a few, and I had to stop looking.
It’s one thing to be disappointed that racism isn’t dead, but a completely different thing to question if your own family members could be wrapped up in the thick of it. I’ve heard enough of it from my own family to know the seeds for it are far from dead and buried.
I want to hide my face in shame, but that won’t help. So I speak out. I call my own family out. I refuse to let the hatred go any further.
As one of my seminary professors said while responding to an African American student pleading for justice, “The white community has to lay an axe to that tree themselves.”
Moments ago, the news streamed again. A car slammed into the protestors.
STOP! PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPONS AND FIND THE PEACE OF GOD. IN THE NAME OF JESUS – STOP!
Interim Pastor Neil Allen
I learned to fold origami cranes about 40 years ago. I wanted to teach my youth group about Sadako, the girl who survived the nuclear bomb in Hiroshima in 1945, only to die 10 years later from Leukemia due to radiation overdose.
Sadako’s brother, who had also endured the blast, explained recently that it was a beautiful day. “Not a cloud in the sky.” The family (with the exception of their father who had gone off to work), had just sat down to eat breakfast.
There was no siren, and no warning.
Sadako (age 2 at the time), was blown out of the house and was found sitting on a box outside with tattered remains of her clothing. No one knew how she got there. A friend rescued them with a boat, and took them far down river, dodging the floating bodies and other remains of their once proud city.
When Sadako was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1954, her father told her the legend of the 1,000 cranes. “if you fold 1,000 cranes you will be granted a wish,” he explained to Sadako. She began immediately folding cranes. In all she completed 1,644 before her death.
“That no child would every have to endure this torment.”
As North Korea and world leaders ramp up their war of words, we pray that Sadako’s wish will continue to hold as it has since October 25, 1955 when she died.
Interim Pastor Neil W. Allen
A few days ago we unloaded the news to our grandson. He’s going to a new school (he’s a freshmen, so we reminded him it was a good time to transition). We also told him school will start earlier.
He gave us that “WHAT?!” look every kid gives their parents when it’s time to go back to school, but then he was told that he would be getting out earlier next summer, and that seemed to make the news seem okay.
Yep, it’s just a few more days until the school season is back up and running. A couple of things every parent and grandparent want you to know:
Interim Pastor Neil Allen
Occasionally, due to our mail slot/cardboard box mail slot, mail can go MIA at QACC. Here’s a note that ended up under the little use shop vac. I think you’re going to love it.
This is Phillip. How are you doing? I hope that things are going well for you and the others at the church.
The good news is that I how do have a current new Apt I am calling home for now, until I do indeed return to Seattle. But never-the-less, I am thankful, truly, for a place to live.
Funny thing is…I was starting to like the city, I was a stranger, yes, but I felt immediate care, love, support and compassion when you guys were beginning to take me in.
I just felt it was time to go back, think things over, straighten out things
Speaking of…my credit score was not a problem. It was the “landlords” at the previous building they owned but I lived in, so the mistakenly filed an official notice papers from the courts; even though they eventually dropped it. I guess they just decided it was not worth it.
In other words…my credit is okay. I am working to get that court paper off of my credit report.
So, I am very sorry that I am now just writing back; I was getting myself settled in and getting back into my daily Ohio resident life style (just joking)!
So how is everyone doing? I really totally miss each and everyone of you guys. I cannot thank you and the congregation for helping me…every step of the way, and even though I made my share of mistakes, frustration and despair, each individual treated me special.
No one has ever douted my courage to experience the things I have personally experienced myself, but I just wante to say thank you all, form the bottom of my heart.
I pray for everyone and their families and friends, wellbeing also.
I am really sorry for the Seahawks. I was rooting fo them to beat the Falcons, but they came up short.
Maybe next year, huh!? Anyway, it is going on 11 pm (EST) on a Sunday night, actually, I am writing this letter now and this letter will be mailed in the express mailbox at the Post office, mail for Ohio are mailed pretty fast, so you might receive this letter in a bout a week , maybe 2 weeks. I gotta go, I will write back whenever/or if I can soon. Thank care of yourselves, I love you all, and God Bless,
Pastor Neil Allen
I am blessed to serve as the pastor of Queen Anne Christian Church, an amazing community of wise and thoughtful people.