Tending Our Junk Pile

Tending Our Junk Pile

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 27, 2015

The best gardener in Bishopville, South Carolina is named Pearl, and no she is not a matriarch of the local garden club. Instead, this man named Pearl became a gardener, not by his attendance at the garden club, but by his frequenting the garbage dump. For nearly thirty-five years, Pearl Fryar has tended a garden of his own creation built from scrap plants from other nurseries’ compost piles.

A few years ago, Erin and I visited his garden and were amazed at how his creations rise high above his modest single-story ranch home on a quiet, straight street in Bishopville. His topiaries seem to defy gravity as geometric shapes of green seem to hover around a thin, core trunk. Fryar has carved skeletal topiaries and whimsical evergreens that rise above his yard that read: Love, Peace, and Goodwill…. all of this from near dead plants that most people consider junk.

If you live long enough, then you know something about the junk pile of life. Not the literal junkyard, where old appliances and bygone classic cars go to rust, but instead that part of you that feels dead, bygone, or over. Consider today the thing, person, moment, or memory you just tossed on the junk pile. Is there still life to be lived?

Stories like that of Pearl Fryar remind me to take a second look at the gifts in my life that are long forgotten or the people that I have long since written off. Tending to the junk pile of our lives may make room for something new to grow from that which was thought  to be dead. Maybe even faith, hope, and love might grow like an evergreen in your life once again.

Holy Friendships

Holy Friendships

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 20, 2015

I have had the theme from Toy Story stuck in my head for two weeks. Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” has played on a loop as our three-year-old has watched all three movies of the series. Daily he chooses Buzz Lightyear as his friend and preferred playmate. I love to watch Logan play with his friends, both those real and imagined, and I remember the lifelong friends that I have had. One, in particular, I have known my whole life. He is a theologian and I, a pastor. We share two sides to the same vocation. My friend and I always pick up right where we left off and have seen every Star Trek movie together for the past twenty years. We talk about our parents, families, and call when the big things in life happen. 

Do You Want a Revolution?

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Do You Want a Revolution?

By Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 13, 2015

This past summer, the youth of HHBC started a Revolution. It began in June, when the youth choir traveled all over the Southeast on our Jubilate choir tour. They sang songs
about God’s love for us and others, they worshiped in other churches, they sang on the Pigeon River while rafting the white water, they shared meals with people they didn’t know, and shared a bus with two other churches from our Jubilate group. As we toured, they were the hands and feet of Jesus embarking on a revolution.

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The Next Generation

The Next Generation

By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, August 6, 2015

We are the church, that is a simple thing to say and a more difficult thing to believe. We are the church, not the bricks and mortar, the budgets, or the bylaws. Living, breathing, broken, beloved, beautiful, people are the church. This includes those who comprise the Greatest Generation, the Boomers, the Busters, and Generation X, Y, and Z. Okay, the generational labels do tend to drive me crazy, but they are helpful in talking about trends over time.

The Summer

The Summer

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, July 30, 2015

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation. He went flying down the river in his boat with his video camera to his eye, making a moving picture of the moving river upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly toward the end of his vacation. He showed his vacation to his camera, which pictured it, preserving it forever: the river, the trees, the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat behind which he stood with his camera preserving his vacation even as he was having it so that after he had had it he would still have it. It would be there. With a flick of a switch, there it would be. But he would not be in it. He would never be in it. ~ Wendell Berry

Praying for Our Teachers

Praying for Our Teachers

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, July 23, 2015

By Jake Hall

Right now, in the heat of summer the
educators in our congregation prepare for
another academic year. First-year teachers
ready classrooms and long-tenured
professors edit their syllabi for another group
of learners. My wife, the other Reverend Hall, is an educator, a
calling that has been embodied both in classrooms and in
congregations. Last year about this time she wrote a prayer for
those other educators in our midst. May it be our prayer for
students and teachers and lifelong learners of any age.

Harambe for Giving Hearts at VBS

Harambe for Giving Hearts at VBS

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/16/2015

By Ruth DuCharme

Each year at Vacation Bible School our children present their offerings during the morning assembly. A cause is chosen where these offerings will be directed, and our children gauge their progress each morning. It is always a meaningful part of our VBS week.

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/9/2015

By Jake Hall 

“Jambo,” it’s Swahili for “Hello.” “Jambo” has echoed throughout the halls of Highland Hills during our Kingdom of the Son Vacation Bible School. This safari-themed week has examined the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer like an explorer on safari learning the landscape and experiencing local life. In the New Testament, the disciples ask Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The Lord’s Prayer is a model prayer that Jesus taught his disciples. The prayer teaches us about the landscape of the Christian life and living an adventure of faith on which we embark when we embody the prayer. Each word of the prayer, from the opening salutation to the powerful benediction, provides insight into the way of following Jesus. Even the “Hello” is important.