by Rob Grabill, Director of Religious Education
We head into Holy Week and Easter having had a Lenten experience that for many was full and meaningful. Attendance at a number of events has been quite large. More importantly, these varied classes and gatherings have provided opportunities for learning, reflection and community building. That seems to fit quite well under the heading of a church community’s goals for Lent.
It’s worth reporting on a few of these.
Fred Berthold’s Bible Study series has been wonderful As of this writing we are halfway through, and it has been a great learning experience. One of the measures of a good class is the frequency and quality of questions asked, and there have been some great ones. One of our recent classes involved a thorough study of the Prophets, characterized by Fred as containing the best writing in Judeo-Christian literature. Happily, this point was amply illustrated. During one of the lengthy digressions at the end of class, we had a fundamental discussion of the problem presented by acknowledging the existence of so much evil in the world. No class will be able to “solve” such an issue, but learning the tools to even comprehend the debate has been a great gift. There are still two sessions scheduled for the Sundays following Easter, and there is room for anyone to join us. It’s not too late!
Ann Bradley or Carla may report on the Faithfully Facing Dying class elsewhere in this issue, but it needs to be said in this space that the quality of the UCC curriculum, supplemented by the excellent guest presenters, amplified by the careful, caring leadership from Carla and Ann, and supported by the generous, sensitive involvement of every participant, has made this course something of extraordinary benefit. We have already discussed the possibility of a Second Hour session this fall to report the outline of what we have learned. Our church family is stronger because of this course.
Two weeks ago we celebrated the final of our Christian Vespers series in Rollins Chapel, with the subsequent meal in our own Sanborn Hall. Responsibility for leading worship each week rotated between each of the entities making up the Christian participants in the wide-ranging United Campus Ministry at Dartmouth. The final worship was led by Tucker Dean and Dartmouth Chaplain Richard Crocker, and, despite the fact that it was the night before exams (or perhaps because of it!), we had more students attending than we had seen all semester. It was a nice way to end a successful initiative. Vespers will be back for the Spring term, and all are invited for worship and/or the meal.
There was a wonderful night of community a few weeks back as we celebrated March Madness, our annual talent show and dessert buffet. A number of young people (and a few sheepish, older good sports) displayed a wide range of talents, including piano playing, dancing, juggling, unicycling, joke telling, and fast-paced Origami folding. There were several good skits and a number of really corny jokes and bloopers. Gail McPeek’s Sunday School class did a remarkable job of organizing, publicizing, hosting and judging. The highlight of the night was the large turnout of folks who came to be entertained, even though they weren’t family members of the performers, making it a wonderfully intergenerational affair. Be sure to join us next year!
Although this update has consisted exclusively of recapping past events from a very busy and full month, we are also eager for what lies ahead after Easter. Sunday School attendance is already picking up dramatically now that the snow and ice have melted, and we will be continuing to plan and offer a number of educational and community events. Spring will be buzzing at CCDC!