"Stayin' Alive" is not a bad metaphor

I’m pretty sure I’ve never enjoyed a Sunday morning service more than I did this past weekend, when we launched our 2018 Stewardship campaign with a surprise visit from John Travolta and friends. I think watching so many folks doing the “Brooklyn Shuffle” dance was even more fun than that time we all formed a conga line and danced out of church to “We Are Dancing in the Light of God.”

Many, many thanks to all who were involved in the morning’s festivities. The dancers came in twice to learn and practice the dance steps together, under the tutelage of Con Apostolopoulos, a friend of mine who used to be a dancer on a cruise ship. Con readily agreed to coach our dance team. The dancers also put in time practicing at home, and it showed. Thank you Gretchen Timmer, Mary Tinker, Rose Applegate, Harry Johnson, Leah Orr, JoAnn Hamm, Rita Lord, Robyn Stephens and the incomparable Martin Mooney!

Thanks, too, to Helen Masterson, who has agreed to chair our Stewardship campaign. Helen has put in much time herself crafting a message to convey just how important it is for all of us to step up as faithful stewards, and how critical it is that our 2018 pledges at last put us on a path to financial sustainability as a parish.

In that regard, I think our “Payin’ Your Tithe” routine has already demonstrated just how much we can do when we put our minds and hearts to it. When the idea was first broached about doing a disco dance in church, with Martin in the lead, I’m going to venture to say virtually no one thought it would actually come to pass. It was just a fun thing to think about happening, a fantasy.

Not surprisingly, Rita Lord was actually the first person to agree to take part. There’s nothing that woman won’t do for this place! And then Martin agreed, and set about with single-mindedness of purpose to find a John Travolta costume. Then Gretchen got on board and she brought the rest of the choir. Then Rose spoke up on behalf of the acolytes. Then Con agreed to come and teach us the steps.

So the will was there. But that first dance class was discouraging. Though you’d never know it from Sunday’s performance, we’re NOT a bunch of born dancers around here. We struggled to get the steps down. But we found a teaching video on YouTube, and folks promised to keep working on it at home. By the second class, last Thursday, we were substantially better – as long as Con was there out front, calling out the moves for us. What would happen on Sunday morning without Con?

I may be biased, but I couldn’t have been prouder of us. I thought we were great, and the dancers had fun doing it. I hope the congregation had fun watching. We pulled off something amazing, something past experience said would never happen. But it did.

It happened because a small group of committed folks dug deep and found themselves able to do something they never would have imagined. What a great metaphor for our whole stewardship campaign. Yes, the challenges before us are real, and it will take hard work and some sacrifice to accomplish what we want to accomplish. But we can do this. 

Imagine us as a vibrant, growing, financially secure parish, a beacon of hope for our community and an example for other small, struggling churches of what’s possible. Imagine us “Stayin’ Alive.” We can do this with your help

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