Rev. Christopher A. Henry’s Reflections on Summer 2017
July 30, 2017
Each summer season seems to move more swiftly than the last. I write these words on the final day of a wonderfully rejuvenating time away which included connecting with family, friends, colleagues, and places I love. I also write on the verge of another program year filled with vibrant and meaningful activity in the life of the Shallowford congregation. On Monday, the program staff will spend the day dreaming and planning for the year ahead. And, just like that, summer comes to a close!
I didn’t want the summer to pass without sharing my gratitude for the incredible gifts of this season of our life together. Our Director of Operations, Jim McGarrah, has jokingly suggested that he is still waiting for the promised “Post-Easter lull” now three and a half months after Easter! Indeed, Shallowford’s ministries may shift in the summertime, but they do not subside.
The change of pace allows for a different level of engagement and, often, new opportunities for transformation. I’m grateful for that. Here are some things for which I’m especially grateful this summer:
Rev. Christopher A. Henry’s Reflections on Year Six
February 5, 2017
One of my favorite images is the one of the child who is sitting on her grandfather’s lap. “Grandpa,” she
says, “tell me a story.” “What kind of story would you like to hear?” “One with me in it.” This afternoon, I
want us to think together about a story that has each of us in it – the story of Shallowford in the year 2016.
One of the greatest gifts of my vocation in congregational ministry is the opportunity to hear and share
stories. Stories are sacred. When Jesus wanted to express the deepest and most challenging mysteries of
faith, he used parables. Our stories are sacred. Our common story is sacred.
Of course, for each of us, the Shallowford story is different. A few of you remember the beginning of this
great church in the summer of 1958. More of you recall the excitement of rapid growth in the early
decades, building the chapel, the education building, or the sanctuary. Some of you remember bringing
children to the school upstairs, or stopping in on a Sunday morning in search of a new church home. Some
of you were carried here in the arms of your parents decades ago; some showed up for a group of
support as you cared for loved ones or grieved losses. Some have spent hours walking these halls; others
are still learning your way around the building. For some of you, Shallowford is another word for home,
and some of you are still deciding if this is the place where God is calling you. I’ll make that one easy…the
answer is yes! Regardless of how or when or why your journey here began, your Shallowford story is part
of the narrative of this place. Shallowford is a community of diverse and unique individuals who have this
in common: we seek to worship God, follow Jesus Christ, find joy in Christian community, grow in faith,
and serve those in need.
This afternoon, I want to share with you a bit of the story of this community last year – and what a tale of
adventure it was! You do not have the time on this very special Super Bowl Sunday to listen to every
moment of divine encounter, every blessing, every challenge, so, I plan to hit some of the highlights of the
year at Shallowford and celebrate all that made it a memorable one for our faith community.