The Circle of Life

I know you’re familiar with the song, Circle of Life, from the Lion King. I’m thinking more these days of Harry Chapin’s song, All My Life’s a Circle. Both speak to the seasons of our lives, the changes, the inevitable partings and hopefully new beginnings. I love both of those songs.

Speaking of circles, on Sunday December 8th we’ll be celebrating two circles that have come “full circle.”

First, we’ll have a baptism and I have the privilege of baptizing Alexandra Greenwood. This is such a joyful story! Alexandra is the granddaughter of Rev. Robert Troutman, formerly pastor of Riverside for some 14 years through the 1970s and 1980s. He really had a major impact on shaping our progressive Baptist identity. I met Bob in 1983 as a participant of the Baptist Peace Tour through Baptist Peace Fellowship—we had traveled with a large contingent of folks who wanted to counter the “evil empire” rhetoric and embrace our brothers and sisters living in the Soviet Union and remind them that we loved them. Anyway, Bob and I got to know each other; he heard me preach in Volgograd and then some 7 years later, he recommended me to the pulpit committee of Riverside. The rest is history as they say. Now here I am, at the end of my ministry at Riverside and who walks in the door? Alexandra, his granddaughter and she wants to be baptized. Her mother, Bob’s daughter, Karen and her husband James are hoping to join us that Sunday for her baptism. This will be very, very special indeed.

The second circle on Dec 8th will be our friends from Westminster Presbyterian Church joining us in worship. It has been just over one year since we left their fellowship and care of us to enter our new building. I thought it important that we get together again. So Ruth will likely join me in preaching that day (we each will keep it brief) and then all of us will return to Westminster for a catered lunch. Our choir and musicians will lead us in a time of singing hymns and some Advent carols. This will be an outstanding day of friendship and hope.

Finally, let me remind you that that Sunday is also a day of communion so we will have worshipped together within the great circle of these sacraments, baptism and communion. You won’t want to miss this.

Our choir will present Christmas music on Sunday, Dec 15th. And as you know, my last Sunday as your pastor will be Dec 22nd. All my life’s a circle…. Thanks be to God who makes us the Church and assures us that the circle will be unbroken.

Grace & Peace, ~PSTR