Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reprising 2010, Since the Blogger took a Sabbatical all Year

Although the blogger was absent in 2010, the mission of Compton Heights continued to grow. Once a month the Compton Rising Reading Circle (aka the book club) met to discuss the latest reading project. This group has involved more than a dozen people this year, and monthly attendance is around 8 or 9. We loved meeting at 6 North until they quit having Saturday hours and eventually closed the CWE location all together. Now the reading circle moves around. The last three months of the year we met at Van Goghz in the South Grand area.

Hooray for babies! The dedication of Jordan Walton (parents Matt and Shannon) was a highlight of a morning worship service. Jordan was the 5th baby born to members of the congregation in approximately an 18-month span. Two of the babies, Owin and Elizabeth, have moved away with their parents. And this fall Jordan moved to Columbia with her parents as they found new jobs. We continue to delight in the amazing growth of Peter, now 2, and Annabelle, soon to be 2. They are walking, starting to talk, and definitely know what they like! The addition of a play kitchen to the nursery is very popular with them.

The Peace Garden continues to flourish and the bulbs burst into bloom for Easter right on cue. Thanks to Jan Kreuger for masterminding the gardening! Often staff of Isaiah 58 hold meetings in the garden in the warm months, and clients use the benches while waiting for buses or to visit with others on nice days. The presence of the benches has made some of our residential neighbors nervous. Since once in a while a homeless person takes a nap on one, they question whether we are an attractive nuisance. We continue to try to explain that the mission of having a Peace Garden is to offer a place of refreshment and respite for body and soul, where people can gather or rest and restore themselves with a little of nature's beauty. It is a holy thing.

Since the addition of sisters DebE and Kim to our church family, the number of interesting and innovative fellowship events has increased exponentially. These ladies know how to have some holy fun. In September, a group of us went apple picking at Eckert's Farm in Illinois. Here, with the day's pickings of Golden Delicious and Jonathans, are Mary, Madeline, Marty, Norm, Kim, DebE, Darrell and Annabelle. Judi took the picture. There were fresh apples for coffee hour for weeks after that, and all kinds of other apple based goodies.

During the summer, Compton hosted Dr. Anil Henry, director of the Mungali, India, medical mission and learned more about the services that hospital and school is providing. Some of the group that visited India's Family Village Farm in the fall of 2009 is starting to plan another visit for the fall of 2011. Pastor Jacque and four other members are interested, and people from two other congregations--one in Kansas City and one in Memphis--are planning to go, too. So one focus for 2011 will be learning more about India and also helping raise funds to support the trip. In November 2010, our most successful all-church bazaar netted over $1700 for the Compton Cares debt retirement effort (see stats in the sidebar at upper right.) Our prayer shawl knitting circle turned out a record number of shawls and lap blankets, and these were donated to several members and also friends of the congregation who were facing illness and other physical or spiritual challenges. The circle members also made a lot of scarves for the bazaar, and those left over added to the annual Tree of Warmth, which was positively overflowing on the third Sunday in December. All of the items were distributed to clients of Isaiah 58 Ministries.

Compton folk also gave generously to the 6 special offerings we hold for outreach every year and stretched to fund two more appeals. In January we sent an over-and-above offering to Week of Compassion of more than $1150 in response to the Haiti earthquake, and in the summer we collected more than $800 for response to the flooding in Pakistan. We also held two drives to collect items for hygiene and medical kits for Church World Service.

This year we welcomed new members, including Scott, David, Bud and Nancy. The choir is growing; we have adapted our educational ministry to better serve children with autism and Asperger syndrome; Happy Friday continues as our street outreach every week; and there is much more that probably should be mentioned. Finally, we eagerly await new challenges for ministry in 2011.