There is a lovely hymn in Sing the Faith by inspired wordsmith Ruth Duck whose text I want to share:
Sacred the body God has created, temple of Spirit that dwells deep inside.
Cherish each person; nurture creation. Treat flesh as holy, that love may abide.
Bodies are varied, made in all sizes, pale, full of color, both fragile and strong.
Holy the difference, gift of the Maker, so let us honor each story and song.
Love respects persons, bodies, and boundaries. Love does not batter, neglect or abuse.
Love touches gently, never coercing. Love leaves the other with power to choose.
Holy of holies, God ever loving, make us your temples; indwell all we do.
May we be careful, tender, and caring; so may our bodies give honor to you.
It is a great blessing that ours is a loving and caring community of faith. And the sense of touch is also a wonderful gift of God that allows us to express feelings that sometimes go beyond our verbal expression. Most of our guests and members welcome handshakes, and many welcome hugs or pats on the shoulder. But it is important for all of us to remember that “love respects person, bodies, and boundaries.” Not every person wishes to be approached physically, and for some who may be physically and/or emotionally fragile for various reasons, some touches are actually painful and scary, even though the intention may have been friendly. “Love leaves the other with power to choose.” As you encounter folks in worship and other activities at First Presbyterian, please remember to ask if you may give a hug or embrace, and don’t be offended if someone fails to accept your overture. Declining physical contact definitely does not mean that friendly conversation is not welcome!
On an entirely different subject, I’d like to report on our progress with planning and paying for our choir’s trip to Carnegie Hall. We were invited to join Distinguished Concerts in New York’s Nov. 27, 2017 presentation of “Appalachian Winter” after they learned of our community choir’s production of this same work at Christmas 2016. The Carnegie Hall concert (and our rehearsals) featuring a 200+-voice choir will be directed by the composer Joseph M. Martin himself, and will be accompanied by renowned bluegrass band Dailey & Vincent. There is a group of 12 traveling from Bandon, including five singers from our church, and five singers and two spouses from First Baptist. FPCB will be represented by Tom Collins, Cindy and Paul Hay, Larry Doss and myself. Total advance expenses for each traveler are just under $2,000 and must be paid by the end of September. We expect additional personal expenses in NYC to be roughly another $1,000 per person. Our church’s commitment was to underwrite Tom’s expenses as our Music Director. To date, we have received total donations for this purpose (from all sources) of $2,800. While the other four of us knew that we would be responsible for our own expenses, it would certainly be wonderful if the church could provide some additional support. We are planning another public concert in late Sept./early Oct. at which we will receive donations for this purpose. Any additional support you may feel led to give will be greatly appreciated!