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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

June/July 2012

~Let There Be Light~


“The darkness is passing away,

and the true light is already shining.”

1 John 2:8b



Dear Members and Friends,


            Since joining Bower Hill’s “Haiti Water Team” and attending “solar school” down in Arkansas, I’ve been thinking a lot about electricity.  (Just on a side note: solar school is located in Arkansas because it is—fittingly enough—a ministry of the Presbyterian “Synod of the Sun.”)  Rich Salvante, Karl Casey, and I went south to learn how to power our Haiti water purification systems by means of solar energy, since there is plenty of sun in that country but not much in the way of an electrical grid.  After three days of wiring, and voltage, and amps, it was a thrill to attach our newly constructed “disconnector boxes” to the solar panels, flip a lever, and watch three light bulbs flicker into life.  There’s a breathless moment, just before you throw the switch, when you think to yourself, “please-work-please-work-please-work.”  And in our case, that moment was followed by a flood of relief…and a strange kind of joy.  Of course, stories about that experience are coming soon to a pulpit near you.  But since I’m thinking so much about electrical power, and since it would be beneath my dignity to tell light bulb jokes from the pulpit, I’ll use this page to share a few:


·         How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb? 

       Two: One to call the electrician and one to mix the manhattans.


·        How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb? 

      Three: One to change the bulb and two to shake their heads and talk about how much better the old bulb was.


·        How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb? 

      At least twenty-seven: A six-member committee to send the request to Session, an eighteen-member Session to   approve the change, a custodian to make the change, and at least two…to form a new denomination in protest.


            In the world of humor, light bulb jokes rank only slightly higher than knock-knock jokes.  So, let’s rethink the question: How many Presbyterians (or Episcopalians, or Lutherans) does it take to change a world?  The standard answer is “one.”  And it’s true that it only takes one person-of-faith to change the world.  But a better answer is “every one of them,” for in another sense we know that the world will only change for the better when each of us throws our lives into casting light in dark places.


            I’m proud of the ways that Bower Hill Church invests its human energies into the life of the world.  This year “before the snow flies”—as we say upstate—we will have established two safe drinking water sites in a country ravaged by waterborne illness and death.  That’s two bulbs flickering to life in a dark place.  As a church, we truly are growing brighter and better.  Thank you for taking part.



In Christ’s peace,