Saturday, June 30, 2012

Freedom to Love, Grow & Serve

We'll share worship, communion, and potluck this Sunday. Our offering will be designated for The Gathering. This will be our last Gathering-as-a-whole until the end of July. On Sundays, July 8, 15, 22, Gatherers will join together in small groups to share dinner and conversation. For more information go to our newsletter.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gathering for Meditation

This Sunday's Gathering will be a time of meditation led by Dick and Nancy.  Nancy said music and modeling clay will both be part of the evening.  There's no potluck, and the offering is still to be determined.

Unbelievably, it's already almost July.   A delightful aspect of The Gathering is the diversity of participants, and a frustration is that we go in so many different directions, it's hard to get to know each other. Last year, we discovered that a wonderful way of getting to know each other more intentionally was via the July Dinners for Eight (or 6 or 9 or 7 or 10) experiment.  So we're doing it again.  The first Sunday of July, July 1, we will gather for worship as usual at 5:30 pm, Promenade Square, 618 Locust Street.  The next three Sundays, July 8, 15, 22, Gatherers will join together in small groups to share dinner and conversation. You may participate in one, two, or all three Sundays. I have no doubt the evenings will be nourishing and satisfying in many ways: spiritually, intellectually, physically - and just plain fun! These are also great times to include people interested in The Gathering but afraid to come to "church." To be included or just to know what's going on, please contact Nancy  (  

Looking forward to gathering with you,

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Celebrating Fathers and Karen's Return

Sunday is Father's Day, and therefore, many of you have plans to be with various men in your lives. That's great!  And even better: bring those men with you to The Gathering because a photographer from The Standard-Times is going to be present to worship with us and take pictures for the story that's going to run in the paper sometime soon.  This is a great opportunity for The Gathering to be "seen" - literally and figuratively. 

Another reason this Sunday is special to me is because I'll be back co-leading worship.  I look forward to this opportunity to be with you all again in body and spirit.  Part of Sunday's service will be about "fatherhood", so if you'd like to bring pictures, readings, memories to share, please do so.  In addition, our potluck theme will be favorite father foods - your favorite food, if you're a father-being; food that reminds you of someone who filled a fatherly role in your life; your favorite food if you want to be a father; etc.

Our offering will be designated for the Healthy Families San Angelo program, whose mission is "to enhance the ability of families to provide a secure and nurturing environment that supports positive outcomes for children."

Good news to share - Cary Sargent's ear surgery this morning was successful, and she continues her recovery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.  Prayers are appreciated. 

Peace, Shalom, Salam,

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Holding Close and Letting Go


Someday soon I hope to get back to sending interesting, colorful, festive, informative, and inspiring weekly e-newsletters (I'm hoping the e-newsletters used to be all those things).  At the beginning of this transplant journey, Isobelle graciously offered to help with the e-newsletters, but I thought managing them was no big deal.  Hah!  In the past 2 months, I've definitely run up against the hubris of thinking I can do everything.  Perhaps I also keep hoping for some routine and predictability in this chaotic time, and managing the e-newsletters symbolizes that.   What's the quote - hope springs eternal?  Well, I may be hoping, but routine and predictability have not yet returned, so maybe one day soon I'll get out an interesting, colorful, etc, e-newsletter but not today.

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during the past couple of weeks.  Neil's father, Thomas G. Snipes, Sr, died early Saturday morning, June 2.  The graveside service was Sunday afternoon, in a beautiful country cemetery outside Mt. Vernon, TX.  For most of the gathered family and friends, this was their first opportunity to see Neil post-transplant (after all, it's only been 8 weeks), and the first opportunity in many months to see him at all because of his travel restrictions while on the transplant list.  So as is often the case, but perhaps more obvious this Sunday, gathering for a death was also an opportunity to celebrate life.

We were in San Antonio by early Tuesday morning for post-transplant clinic and finally returned to San Angelo Wednesday night.  While it's been a full and tiring several days, we're very glad Neil and I were able to be present with his siblings and other family members for his father's burial.  We appreciate your continued care as we begin transitioning to life without Tom.

As to Sunday's Gathering, Dick Marine is planning the service.  He says it's going to be very unusual, surprising, and different, so don't miss it.  I've lost track of days, but I believe this is the second Sunday of the month; if so, there's no potluck this Sunday.  At this time, I don't know the designated offering recipient.

You are a wonderful community - holding each other in love and care, providing a witness of compassion and justice to the San Angelo area, seeking to be a vibrant inclusive progressive faith community in a conservative traditional community.  None of these is particularly easy; all together they are quite challenging.  Kudos to you for keeping after all of it. 

Grace and peace,

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gathering in Community

Update on Neil:

Neil and I are experiencing what so many lung transplant recipients have described to us - the transplant roller-coaster.  While Neil's lungs are doing very well, he ended up back in the hospital in the wee hours of Monday morning after 12 hours in the University Hospital ER because of a slight infection in the surgical wound.  Because his immune system is so compromised right now, any infection is worth paying attention to, and the transplant team was indeed paying attention. So good news/bad news - the transplant team didn't take any chances, and Neil ended up inpatient on the transplant floor at University Hospital, San Antonio, Sunday - Tuesday.  We're now home and learning to manage iv antibiotics and wound care.  

Complicating Neil's recovery is his father's decline.  We are very sad to report that Tom Snipes, Sr., is succumbing to small cell carcinoma in his lungs, is now in ICU in Mt. Pleasant, TX, and is declining rapidly.  While we are grateful Neil's siblings are present with Tom, are conveying Tom's shifting status, and are facilitating communication between Tom and Neil, we deeply regret we are not able to be with Tom and the Snipes family during this time.  We appreciate you continuing to hold us in the many ways you pray. 

I also appreciate the Worship Planning Workgroup for taking up leadership of The Gathering worship experiences in my absence and for all the ways you continue to support and participate in The Gathering.  Thank you.
Sunday's Gathering
Worship will be led by Nancy York. She states the theme is related to community. The offering will be designated for Church World Service, the organization with whom we are in community via the school kit and hygiene kit efforts. I recently received this request: 

We are all aware of the disasters that have already occurred this year around the world. In the U.S., hurricane season (officially begins June 1) has made an early start with Tropical Storm Alberto sitting off the Eastern Coast.

Since the beginning of January, CWS has shipped thousands of kits - baby kits, clean up buckets, school kits and hygiene kits to assist people impacted by disasters. Your help is urgently needed to increase supplies that are currently available in the CWS warehouses.  Most needed are baby kits, clean up buckets and school kits.

Our offering will go to further our contribution of 38 school kits. More opportunity to enjoy community will be available by sharing the potluck meal following worship.