It’s surprisingly sunny and almost pleasantly warm as I collect my thoughts for this April column, and I’m appreciating the signs of new or reawakening life in our natural environment. My nearly life-long auto-something response to such stimuli is to pick up a camera hoping to capture some sense of this forever, and many of you know I’m easily tempted to do the same for increasingly satisfying activities here at Cedars (toward which I will now move, with photographs where possible).
Our Connection Dinners are hosted potlucks organized by Sheryl Hamm and the Community Life team to introduce newcomers and facilitate friendships. Scheduled for weekend evenings, they are open to everyone through a signup list circulated or available during after-service coffee hours (or you can simply contact Sheryl) and offer a great way to get to know others in our Cedars community. Similarly, our neighborhood teams meet for social as well as service reasons, drawing together those who live near each other. Here are several examples:
We all enjoy the Cedars choir, and it’s not too hard to see that they enjoy what they’re doing even more. Music Director Chris Smellow has created an environment in which choir members can develop their talents as well as their camaraderie, new and sometimes challenging music can be explored and rehearsed, and further possibilities within the music program can be proposed and discussed (they always welcome new members too). In early February they all gathered with Chris for a musical retreat, and for an obviously good time:
Another set of social and/or educational activities is generated in the offerings of our annual Cedars Auction. Here, the routine is to sign up for a seat or two at the meal and activity events you choose, and enrich your calendar will coming events like these (a garden tour and a lesson in mahjong play):
Or course we’re primarily active on Sundays in Webster Hall, where many of us made our first contacts with the Cedars community. Here our co-ministers Jaco and Barbara inspire and enrich our lives with the assistance of Music Director Chris Smellow and DRE Candee Cole as well as our Worship Associates and choir. And our active coffee hour follows immediately after the weekly service once we’ve set the chairs aside:
There are growing groups of children and youths in our family too. Candee’s been gathering them in, and they’ve been bringing their parents along. Seeing that central rug filling with a new generation of smiling faces that clearly enjoy returning is satisfying evidence of something going well. Here’s a glimpse or two into their world (with some help by others):
The photographs provide only a limited view into our Cedars community, but it’s a richly satisfying view. Our shared lives are becoming more meaningful as we support, inspire, and care for each other as well as the larger global community around us. Cedars needs to be here, and our participation and pledging are how that can be ensured. My last column discussed the how and why of our stewardship campaign and budgeting process, and in this column I’ve tried to provide real-world evidence of why such an effort is worthwhile. Thanks for looking.