Weekly News​

May 21, 2019
Dear Friends,​      
"It's good to see you, kid."
This is how Bea Kimmerly greeted me nearly every Sunday morning on her way out of church. Bea died a few days ago at the age of 107. She was one of our Honorary Deacons and a dedicated member of our church for over 45 years. 
I could spend time in this article outlining Bea's numerous contributions to the life our church. The list would be impressive. But, the thing I will remember most is that Sunday morning greeting, "It's good to see you, kid." It filled me with a sense of belonging. It made me feel like I mattered to Bea.
As our church continues to grow and we see new faces on Sunday mornings, it's essential that we lean into Bea's legacy of helping people to feel welcome, of giving them a sense that they belong with us. It seems a simple "It's good to see you" —whether it's the first time we've seen someone or the thousandth
— letting someone know that we see them and that their presence matters . . . that's an important step towards being the welcoming and inclusive faith family we are called to be.
I hope to see you soon!
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Robin​​



Dear friends,

Today we got to the point that we had to do a major grocery shop in Traverse City. Yep. Meijer. I don’t really mind grocery shopping, especially if I’m not in a hurry. I can wander around and look at everything, picking up the things on my list. [Do you know what Socrates said about going to the market? “I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.” Something to consider when you are hungry and shopping and everything looks good.] Anyway.  Nothing too exciting, but what I really look forward to is the prospect of running into people I know as I maneuver my little cart along the aisles. And today I saw three people whom I consider friends. First I saw Diane Calsbeek from church near the meat department. Then I ran into Brenda, one of my Walkie Talkie friends, while on my way to the produce department. In the produce department, there was Rita, whom I have sung with for a number of years with the Village Voices. With each familiar face, the chore of grocery shopping became less and less of a chore, and more of an opportunity for gratitude. As I’ve said in many of these columns, I feel so blessed to live up here in northern Michigan. It’s a feeling like finally coming home to someplace for which I have yearned for years. Friends in Illinois never seemed to understand how much I needed the water and natural beauty of northern Michigan. They all just thought we were driving – and moving - way too far away to someplace that got way too much snow and cold weather. But they had never experienced the warmth of the people in this corner of Creation. I’m sure that Suttons Bay doesn’t have the corner on the market for friendly people. I’m sure that Suttons Bay Congregational Church isn’t the only lively and warmhearted congregation in the state or the country. (Granted, we DO have the friendliest most approachable pastor in the Midwest, right?) But it’s MY town and MY church, and every face I see on the street or in the library or on the beach is a potential friend or kindred spirit. And then on the drive home, we detoured from M-22 to Lee Point Road and found Bob Buckman and Mary Swartz walking their dog, Ben. That brought the total to FIVE familiar faces on one outing! How darn cool is that?

Friends are one of the greatest blessings in my life; I’m pretty sure you might feel the same way. Jesus said to his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you.” Not that any of us expects to be in such a position, but we are blessed that the Son of God found himself in such a position and followed through. And because we believe this, we are all friends in Christ. I may not ever be in a situation to save your life, but I’ll buy you a cup of coffee at the V.I. and listen when you need to talk.  And I’ll smile when I see you on the sidewalk or at the library, whether in summer or winter. As an old Mongolian proverb goes “A heartfelt smile gives warmth enough for three winters.”  May we have many winters together, my friends, but let’s get through summer first!

Dear God,
Thank you for friends -
the ones we know
and the ones we haven’t met yet.

Thank you, Linda Miller, for providing the weekly reflection and prayer.  

This past Sunday's video is below: