Maranatha News

Hey, Maranatha friends:

This will be my final Maranatha newsletter, as the newsletter will now be in the very capable hands of Dan Blevins. I have appreciated both the opportunity to speak to you each week, and the patience you have employed when the newsletter skated into your mailboxes minutes before the weekend due to my work schedule. I am confident that Dan will be much more punctual!

For those that were not able to attend the All Church Christmas Brunch and might be wondering how it went, I have a few observations. Jim Embrey will finalize our ticket count and Suzie Butterworth will calculate whether we lost or made any money to be turned over to the BAUMC Mission Endowment Fund as we promised. But my thoughts add a different computation.

On Christmas morning, as I struggled out of bed at zero dark thirty, I was filled with giant trepidation. I was mentally kicking myself for having created this crazy situation and having brought all these lovely Maranatha people along for the ride. I had been hugely humbled throughout December as Maranatha member after Maranatha member stepped forward to bake wonderful goodies for the pastry table, to bring a sea of milk and juice, to gather in the midst of their own holiday cooking to create the casseroles to serve our guests. Each time I thought, “Will anyone agree to do this?” virtually everyone who could make his/her schedule work rushed to help. Generous Ruth Giessen, in addition to cooking pastries, ever offered her talented family to play their harps during the brunch so we could have the lovely sound of live music. The lead-up to the brunch was overwhelming, and I was nervous that the actual event would be a letdown.

I needn’t have worried. As each beautiful, sleep-deprived Maranatha person arrived, they came in ready to smile and serve and spread cheer. It was a true joy to work alongside them. During the course of the morning, I made three distinct observations:

(1) Jim Embrey organized this event for months and kept us on track right up through 12/24. Then he handed the baton to Rex Donley who created the most unbelievably detailed minute-by-minute chart of what we were to accomplish that it was impossible to either deviate or fail. Truly, as a person who loves spreadsheets and organization, other than the faces of my children it may be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! But all of Rex’s organization was magnified by Allene encyclopedic knowledge of the BAUMC kitchen and its contents. Without Allene, we would have struggled to find what we wanted or know how to use it. With her, we barely finished sentences of, “Where is the . . .” before Allene would find it, show us how to use it, and have us hard at work. Together these three great organizers made the Maranatha volunteers a mighty force indeed.

(2) An even greater joy than the organization of the task was the ownership of the work by the entire group. Everywhere I went I heard Maranatha members talking earnestly about the tasks that they had been given and the best way to attack them. Carol Maus, Sarah Maldonado, Julee Embrey and Sharon Bookout reorganized the pastry table into a work of art. Mickey Maus directed patrons to the serving line with a flair that made them feel they were being shown into the Oval Office. Rita Singer’s actual job was just to serve fresh fruit, but she augmented that job by greeting each guest with a beautiful, beaming smile and a warm, “Are you hungry this morning?” Everywhere I looked, Maranatha members did what they had been asked to do, but they did more of their own volition and they did it warmly, with love and affection for those they were serving. I have rarely been so proud.

(3) But the absolute best part about our brunch was the group that we served. I may be in the slow reader group, but even in the press of serving casserole to every guest, I began to notice the demographics. While there were isolated pockets of young families with adorable children in their jammies, the overwhelming majority of our guests (probably 85-90%) were older couples or older women on their own. They came early, dressed in their Christmas finest, ate well, and stayed happily at the tables talking with others. At 10:30, we had a full dining room of folks still chatting. They only began to drift to the sanctuary when Sam and Larkin none-too-subtlely began stacking chairs and tables! From the smiles on their faces and the comments that they made, I realized that what we had done was give these people somewhere to go on Christmas morning. These were the BAUMC folks who might have been home alone that morning, but because of us, they had a reason to get up and get dressed, to go somewhere that they were welcomed and wanted. They were thrilled to have somewhere to go and it was extraordinarily moving to those of us who were there to see that we had changed what might otherwise have been a lonely day for people who should never be lonely. When this epiphany finally hit me, the lure of my warm bed didn’t seem appealing at all.

So those are my thoughts. I believe we served a group that needed us and added a lustrous sense of community to what might have been an all-too-quiet day for them. We did so while revealing again the true generous and loving hearts that make up Maranatha and make me so grateful to be part of you. Thank you for giving Jim and me the opportunity to lead this past year. Now we will slip back to our aisle seats where Jim can continue his practice of displaying wild socks and I can retire my newsletter keyboard.

Much love from both of us.

Remember that you are appreciated, enjoyed and admired by your class members.


(918) 638-2353



Published in: on December 30, 2016 at 4:32 pm  Comments Off on Maranatha News  
%d bloggers like this: