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Crump Expressway

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Steve Crump, who is currently on educational/sabbatical leave and away from parish responsibilities through June 30, reports:  I took a field trip to Atlanta for Easter where I attended two, large, non-UU churches.  Addressing church attendees who have little background in scripture, hymns, and little or no experience in the culture of churches is apparently a common challenge across denominational lines these days.  One church leader on Easter morning announced that church volunteers were standing by this morning to talk with anyone who had a need.  "And you don't even have to give us your real name. Give us a fake name, if you choose. We just want to be there for you."  I must say, they were earnest.  At both venues, there was no Order of Service, and, for me, no familiar hymns, with the possible exception of a tune I heard on a Christian rock station some years ago.  While in Atlanta, I met with a representation of a video display company who wishes to work with our church in its sanctuary upgrade.

   One of the several projects of my sabbatical was to monitor and assist in the interview of the candidates for our new Director of Family Ministry. I am pleased that our Search Advisory Team, led by Nathan Ryan, successfully completed its task.  I thank the team for its devotion to an important task and for working within my schedule, making it possible for us to interview each finalist here in Baton Rouge. 

   In recent weeks, I took time to view and reflect upon The Great War series on Public Television, a stunning and personally meaningful viewing.  Look for it to air again as a rerun later this summer. Learning about prejudice against American citizens with German sounding names was enlightening for me. My grandfather, born in Berlin, Germany, was a 26-year-old carpenter and father, living in Illinois when war broke out in Europe.  A fellow like him, same age and birthplace, was lynched by vigilantes for "causing trouble" in a southern Illinois coal mining town. A hideous prejudice would be unleashed again in WWII against Japanese-American citizens. 

   This educational leave has given me pause to be thankful for the joy of reading for reading's sake and reading's pleasure. Microsoft founder Bill Gates reports that his two simple pleasures are washing dishes and reading at night just before bed.  All The Light That We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, a recommendation by several church members, fulfilled my expectations of a fine book. Thank you, congregation, for this time you've given me to take a break for reflection, time for doing stuff, and holy opportunities for not doing stuff. 

[In Steve's absence, Nathan Ryan is serving as Acting Ministry Team Leader and Diana Dorroh is serving as Executive Assistant.]