Saturday, October 28, 2017

A shower for Angelique

We have a new family in our church (the Guilford Community Church, U.C.C). They are refugees originally from the Republic of Congo, via a refugee camp in Uganda. Bahati and Angelique met at the camp, and their daughter, Cody, was born there. So they were in the camp a long time. They have now settled in Brattleboro, and are coming to our church, which is very exciting. Angelique is expecting a baby in November, and so the church put on a shower for her. About 30 people came, and she received a lot of great gifts. There were games and  refreshments too. We were given a list of words relating to a baby - but scrambled. We had to unscramble them ( I got about five of them). We were also given a clothespin to wear. If someone got you to say the word "baby," they could take your clothespin. The kids had fun with that. Some got quite a few clothespins. I held on to mine. A fun time.

               Bahati, Angelique, Cody, and the party MC, Akosua. 

  Angelique and Sue Owings, who helped organize the shower . 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Total Loss Farm

Last Monday, Peter Gould, author of Horse-drawn Yogurt; Stories from Total Loss Farm, was the speaker at the  afternoon Osher lectures. Peter is also a mime, an actor and a theater director, working mainly with youth at the New England Youth Theater. He told us he had directed 70 productions of Shakespeare over his 40+ years in theater! He was very entertaining.

Total Loss Farm was a '60s era commune in Guilford, VT. 

    The cover of Peter Gould's book

Monday, October 16, 2017

Brattleboro Literary Festival

This past weekend, Brattleboro held its annual "Literary Festival." It attracts very well-known authors like Richard Russo and Claire Messud, and many others. There never seem to be any "duds." And it's all free. It goes on for two days in multiple venues, maybe 50-60 authors or more all told. It's amazing for a small town. 

I sang at a funeral Sat. a .m. 
in Dummerston, but I got to hear  the two authors mentioned above, plus a debut Korean novelist, Yoojin Grace Wuertz. All three were excellent: they talked about their work, read selections and answered questions. Ellen heard several others. 

            Claire Messud 

           Grace Wuertz

               Richard Russo

House developments

Wednesday we visited Unity Homes in Walpole, NH to get more information on the little house, the "Nano," we are thinking of building. It looks doable, and we liked the people there. Here is what a section of wall looks like: you can see how well it is insulated !

A cross-section of wall showing cellulose insulation and sample external siding. 

But then we went Thursday to a Putney Commons meeting - that's where we hope to build - and discovered some issues with siting both the house and the garage that will go with it. So we'll have to resolve those issues. Nothing insurmountable, we hope. 

A discovery

We discovered a bakery in Brattleboro that we hadn't known about. It's called Against the Grain, and everything is gluten free. We were sent there to pick up a donation of GF cookies for a Concert Choir fundraiser. It is very much off the beaten path - in the back of an industrial park on the edge of town. But it's very nice, and has very reasonable prices.

           Against the Grain bakery

Monday, October 9, 2017

Catching up yet again

I can't quite believe it has been two weeks since my last post. It has been a full two weeks. Dominating this time was preparation for yesterday's service at the Guilford church. It was not an ordinary service. It is a momentous time both for the church and for me personally. This month is the 60th anniversary of my ordination as a minister. An occasion not only to look back, but look ahead. And in the same month, the Guilford Church is reaching the climax of its 250th anniversary with the release of the new history of the church, And Grace Shall Lead Us, a 120-page narrative of the past 18 years or so, and a sequel to my Safe Thus Far, which covered the history from 1767 to 1999 when it was published. That is happening next Saturday. And my ordination took place on Reformation Sunday which this year will be the 500th anniversary of the Reformation - Luther posting his  95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg.
So all of that, and more, was woven into yesterday's service. 

One very special moment was a reunion of Raggedy Ann and Backpack Patty, two dolls who played a very important role in many children's stories back in the 1980s and 1990s when Shirley and I were pastors. They hadn't seen each other since we retired in 1997 - 20 years! It was an emotional reunion! 

Telling the story with Backpack Patty and Raggedy Ann (and with Fred Breunig holding the mike)

By the way, the full service is on YouTube!
Just go to YouTube and enter "Guilford Church service" and look for 10/8/17.

These weeks have also seen the start of the Osher Lectures. This fall, they are on Japanese art and culture in the morning , and local authors in the afternoon. Archer Mayor, local author of a long series of mystery novels featuring Detective Joe Gunther held forth for two hours in an extremely entertaining way, taking numerous questions. 

Archer Mayor, displaying a brochure on his novels

And then yesterday afternoon was a performance of Bach's B-Minor Mass by the Blanche Moyse Chorale. Normally I would have been singing, but this time I was in the audience. It was held in the Brattleboro Music Center's brand new auditorium. A new feather in Brattleboro's already well-adorned cultural cap . A very "live" hall, as it turns out. I missed being on-stage,  but it was great to hear it too. 

The Chorale, and Bach Festival orchestra in the new hall. What an amazing little town we live in! How many towns of 12,000 people in the U.S. could produce a world-class performance of the B-Minor Mass, using mostly local musicians?