Mid Councils Newsletter October 18, 2014
Lately, I have had an interesting conversation with several of my female friends who are around my same age. It has to do with china and silver. Now, if you are of a certain generation, you may need to be reminded about this. So, let me tell you the story of the china and silver in my life.
One of my grandfathers was a jeweler. I never met him, but the business he and a partner started in the 1920s is still considered to be the premier local jewelry store in Peoria. If you want to really impress someone, you get them a box that says “Potter and Anderson.” When I was growing up, my mom and I would go to downtown Peoria to shop about one Saturday a month. It was a big deal. We visited the big department stores, always made a stop at the jewelry store, and then back to a department store for a fancy lunch. My favorite things to look at in the department store were the big dolls that I knew I would never have and in the jewelry store the beautiful sterling silver trays.
When I got engaged, one of the mandatory visits for me or any other bride was the trip to the place that sold fine china. Many brides my age would also have gone to the jewelry store to pick out sterling silver flatware, but I was lucky enough to be my grandma’s youngest granddaughter. She did not really use her sterling flatware anymore, so, I became the custodian of a full set of very beautiful flatware. I also picked out a china pattern and we received a full, twelve-place setting as wedding gifts.
Now, fast forward. My grandmas, my mother-in-law, and my mom have all passed away. I have ended up with several full sets of china, three sets of silver flatware, and a full silver tea service. My daughters also have some silver flatware and some china. I have never seen it used at their homes. (I wonder if they still have it!) I haul out the sterling for Thanksgiving or Easter and use the china I picked out on those same occasions. But as I now have six young grandchildren and any of those occasions always involve some kind of spill as well as the chaos of trying to get everyone to the table at the same time, paper goods are looking better and better.
Here is the dilemma that my friends and I were talking about. We are now the custodians of these beautiful things that our grandparents and great grandparents cherished and for which they saved. They were symbols to them of having reached a certain level in society and a certain level of sophistication. My friends and I are not sure they are still worth the cupboard space that they are taking up. But what should we do with them? One of my friends has already sold hers as a part of the estate auction for her mother. The full sterling silver place setting for twelve brought very little money.
It strikes me that this is just what it is like in many of our congregations. There are some people who just cannot give up the way they have done things and the place where they have done them. It is not because they do not realize that things need to change. But they feel like they are the custodians of those traditions and that place. Are they really going to be the ones that finally give up what their ancestors in that church held so dear and worked so hard to get? It is a very hard decision.
This year, I do not think I am hosting either Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. My daughters are taking that on. So I will see if there is any evidence of the china or silver at their houses. And, it will be one more year of dusting the box the silver is in and giving up valuable cupboard space to the china, but I just don’t think I am ready to give them up quite yet. Not quite ready to give up that tie with the women in my family who held them so dear. ...
The Theology and Worship team has put together a paper about the actions taken by the last GA with regard to marriage and the previous actions about ordination standards that led to a change in the Constitution. We have included a link to it here in case you would like to use it in discussions that you may be having with your congregations.