Mid Councils Newsletter, July 13, 2015
musings from the road
Time to go back to the garden. This has been a strange year in Central Illinois for gardening. It has been cooler than usual and very wet. We usually average approximately three inches of rain in June and this year we have had about eleven inches. That means I have not had to water this month at all except once in a while for plants that are in pots on porches. Usually by this time of the gardening season I am hauling hoses around and getting a notice from the water company wondering if I might have a leak somewhere because of excessive water use. Needless to say, the garden looks beautiful except for one thing—the bunnies. And I do mean bunnies. There is one tiny bunny that hides under some foliage right outside my front door and then darts out when we go outside. They are eating things they have never eaten before. The owner of the garden shop at the end of my street is having the same trouble. He cannot figure out why they are so daring this year. Surely there is enough foliage on the natural things that they usually eat that they do not need to snack on gardens. My grandchildren and I are calling them the “booger bunnies.” I will admit that once in a while, when the children are not around, I have used somewhat stronger language.
One thing that has not changed and, with all of the water, may in fact be a bigger job than usual at this time of year is the dead-heading. This has nothing to do with a rock music group from long ago (I mean, really, have you met me? Do you think that kind of Dead Head would have any appeal ☺) No, this dead-heading is removing the flower heads once they have bloomed. As far as I am concerned there are a few reasons to do this. First, usually flowers are not very pretty after they have bloomed, so it makes the plant look better to remove them. Second, they add extra weight. When I was dead-heading the day lilies this week (a daily job if one chooses, as the name implies), each dead head was laden with water. When I removed them, the stems perked back up.
Third, and most importantly, I am not in the seed business. My purpose for planting flowers is to create almost a painting in my yard. So even though every flower produces seeds or some other way of propagating the species as one of its main purposes (what is the chief end of a flower? ... to propagate the species and enjoy it forever.), that is not my purpose for gardening. This is always a great children’s message and one of those every day miracles that surround us. Take any seed pod with you (like a marigold if you can stand the smell). Remind them that one little plant produced this and then show them how many seeds, that is, potential plants, came from one bloom on that one plant. I get rid of the seeds, though, because I am not hoping for seeds. I do not want the plant putting its energy into seed production. I want it to produce more blooms.
So the inevitable question: what is it about your mid council that is draining its energy but serves no current purpose? What may have once been in full bloom but now seems a little shopworn and bedraggled? What is adding weight that you can no longer afford to carry, pulling your mid council down with it? And, if there are things that need to be removed, is there a way for them to become the seeds for something new?
The Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency will pay room and board (one night in the dorm, and dinner, breakfast, and lunch) for up to two people from each presbytery so that you can attend this event.
Here are the details of the Mid Council Consultation that will be held the twenty-four hours before the beginning of the Big Tent.
We will begin with opening worship at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29. There will then be a panel of members of PMA and OGA staff, mid councils, and the PMA and COGA boards. Each person will share a brief snapshot of their current view of the church. This will be followed by a question and answer period for all of those on the panel.
Following dinner, we will be treated to entertainment by an accomplished storyteller from East Tennessee. This will be a time for mid council staff, national staff, and board members to share an evening away from the work that keeps us busy on most days.
On Thursday, July 30, there will be time in the morning for three rounds of discussions on topics of interest for those present. We will conclude with worship together before lunch.
I hope to see many of you there.
Polity Conference takes place October 11-12 in Portland.
The five concurrent conferences this year run October 9-11 and include: Association of Mid Council Leaders, Association of Stated Clerks, New Stated Clerks’ Orientation, Synod Committee on Representation Training, and Moderator’s Conference.
Registration opens on or about August 10, 2015.