The Grace of Small Things Indeed
Dear ones,
This Sunday, Beth Faeth will be preaching on "The Grace of Small Things," and while I am not sure what her sermon is about, the title has resonated with me this week.
This week in Peace Camp, we are focusing on Compassion for our Community, and for those we have yet to meet in life. The bible stories that guided us were the Parable of the Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), and the Lesson of the Widow's Offering (Mark 12:41-44).
On Monday, part of our experience was to make hydration kits (bottles of water with lemonade packets and a kind note taped on them), and hand them out as we went on a walk through the community, looking for the things that help a community function (a place to buy food, a place for a community to gather, green space, a place to get medical care, signs of diversity and inclusion, etc.). The kids did a wonderful job, going cheerfully up to people all over the neighborhood, passing out waters and (masked) smiles. In one of our groups, a man waiting for the bus near the church parking lot asked the kids "what are you all doing?" and the kids explained that they were a church camp. He replied "I've been watching you all, and you are doing a good thing. I want to give you something." At this, he began rummaging around in his pants, pulling out a variety of items before discovering what he was looking for--a crumpled dollar bill. He said "this is for all of you, and for your church."
The kids graciously said thank you, and as we walked back towards the church, we discussed what to do with this gift, that seemed to be the sum total of this gentleman's money, other than some change. One of the kids noticed a very old man in a wheelchair standing at the other corner of the parking lot, with a sign asking for change, and the group decided that the best thing they could do was pass the dollar along to him, as he needed it more than any of them, or our church.
The entire experience took only a few moments, but a series of tiny moments, tiny decisions, individual people, all adding up to a truly holy moment.

What tiny moments have made a big impact in your week?

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While we are not together, please take some time this Sunday with your family to do the following things

  1. Light a peace candle in your home. Decide as a family what you are lighting it in honor of.
  2. Watch the Youtube video "Small Things Can Make a Big Difference." Notice as a family how all the tiny decisions made by the protagonist made improvements in the world on levels both small and large.
  3. Read the week's bible verses, the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl (Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52), together as a family. Typically, the bible verses of the week inform the topic of the sermon. As mentioned above, this week Beth is preaching "The Grace of Small Things." As a family, come up with some tiny things that can make a big difference (either positive OR negative) in the life of an individual or a community. What comes to mind for me is how a tiny paper cut can hurt worse than a giant wound, or how the small discomfort of wearing a mask can provide health and safety for an entire community.
I'd love to hear some of the "tiny things" that your family comes up with!

Gratefully yours,
Nina

P.S. The photo above is some of our campers on one of our community walks. They really loved this mural "Love to all who fight for justice," and wanted to pose with it.
We regret to inform you that we have made the difficult decision to cancel Camp Plymouth for Summer 2020.

So much of what we do at camp focuses on community-shared buffet style meals, close gatherings by the fire, singing, team games, and more. We saw no viable way to maintain the community gathering aspect of camp while keeping everyone safely distanced, and many of the amenities we would have hoped to use while at the camp would not be available this summer to us for safety reasons.

So, in lieu of Camp Plymouth, the Board of Community Life, Seth, myself and other church members, will be working on alternate plans for the weekend of August 27-30th. We are looking at an outdoor community event in our parking lot, featuring food trucks, music, and potentially some service projects, as a way to see one another and get to know our neighbors. We are also looking into showing a family movie or two in the parking lot, so stay tuned!
In addition, if there is a way to safely do so, we may look into an overnight family retreat of some kind in the fall. We will keep you posted!

A second session of the puberty and healthy relationship camps will be offered August 10th-14th. This camp is the exact same sessions we ran in early July. Puberty camp will run from 9am-10am (ages 9-12) and Healthy Relationships camp will run from 10:15-11:15 (ages 11-14). The cost of each session is $30, and scholarships are available. Registration is open now! Classes must have a minimum of 5 kids, and registration closes August 1st!
[612.871.7400]  [ninaj@plymouth.org]  [www.plymouth.org]