Welcome friends. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a newsletter or a blog. I’m finding there is a lot of work to preparing to retire not to mention keeping up with an html/css class, so I’ve had little time to focus on the Star! So I’m really pleased to be able to tell you about my recent weekend trip to my home town, Chicago.
On Sunday, May 5th, my brother Skip, husband Roger and I attended services at Rogers Park Presbyterian Church. This is the church in which Skip, our brothers Ron and Rick and I grew up. I want to thank the membership of Rogers Park Presbyterian Church for their delightful hospitality. What a joy when we got up to greet one another, and the entire membership entered the aisles to reach out to every other member with a message of ‘peace.’ So my friends, in their spirit I wish “Peace be with you.”
We were visiting to bring copies of “The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There” to the church to be distributed to children in their summer program. During the service, Reverend Deborah called me up to the front of the sanctuary and asked a few questions.
After I outlined the story and how the little Star who could not glow, came to experience God’s love and was transformed into the brightest star in the sky, Reverend Debbie said: You appear to know God’s love. Can you tell us how you have experienced this? This led me to tell the story, which I have not yet shared with you, about how I separated myself from my spiritual roots that were founded in this church, once I went off to college. I won’t share all the details in this newsletter but the key points are:
- I did not attend church. I did not raise my children in a church.
- I thought most of their young lives that I could fix anything. . . I thought I just had to understand the source of a problem and I would be able to help them resolve it. I, I, I. I must have thought I could do anything!
- But when my children were young adults everything was wrong. . .and they, well especially my sons, were in deep trouble. I will leave it to my children to share the situation if they choose. . .but it was serious. And I finally wakened and realized that I could not solve any problems; That in fact I had been trying to do so their entire lives without success and yet I had continued to believe that I could ‘fix’ it. I was arrogant.
- And now finally, in a moment of introspection and recognition, I was humbled. At long last.
- It is a blessing that I knew where to turn for help.
- I prayed with a concentration that I have perhaps never previously experienced. I begged Jesus to help, to open my childrens eyes and hearts, to help them to change, to save them. Essentially I prayed for Jesus to “Take the Wheel.”
- When I felt spirit vibrating within me I knew I had been heard and my prayers would be answered. A great burden was lifted.
Over the next few years there were changes. Each child made new choices for their lives and they evolved, as I see it, into light. Today all are mature adults, all recognize and love God, and all are excellent parents. I am very proud of them. . .and I am most thankful to God for His intervention and guidance. Praise be to God.
Following the service we enjoyed a lunch and fellowship with church members. In the days when we attended this church the fellowship hour after church included coffee, tea and sweets. But this was a full lunch, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, salad – too many good things to mention all. We dined and conversed with a few church members and learned about some of the outreach programs the church is sponsoring and how they are working to make their presence known in the community of Rogers Park.
Rogers Park Presbyterian Church is over 100 years old, but it is a beautiful building. . .filled with people of beautiful spirit. It is a historic landmark in Chicago. Skip has attended services there a few times in the last year or two, but I had not been there since Skip got married. .about 1974. The church has not changed much. The sanctuary is still beautiful as you can see from these pictures.
On the left and right balconies, I saw large chalk drawings. I learned that a visiting artist had created them in response as Scripture was being read. And I thought what a wonderful idea. I will share that with my local Art Circle, a group of faithful artists. I can’t wait for the opportunity.
After lunch, I met with the church Session group. We delivered the books that Skip was donating and I told them how I had come to write this story, and how it came to be published last year. [ If you are not familiar with that story, please consider reading the blogs called “Back Story” and “The Missions” on this site. ]
I believe I have been called to put this story into the hands of young children everywhere. I pray that many of you will be called to help in this child outreach.
That is not something I can do myself. I have neither the financial capacity nor the networks to reach children everywhere. So I am in the process of trying to build a nonprofit that is an association of other nonprofits with the ability to distribute books to children. I am investing in an order of books large enough to change the printing technology, to bring down the cost of production at least for runs of great volume.
- The reduced production expenses will enable my studio to offer the book at reduced prices to doners who wish to purchase books to be distributed to children by participating nonprofits.
- I will share the remaining profit margin with participating nonprofits that wish to use the book as a fundraiser to support their own good works.
- I will volunteer time to support the fundraising efforts of participating organizations and to seeking donations to help get the little Star’s story and it’ message distributed to as many children as possible:
- God loves you!
- God provides you with gifts.
- You can love God, honor God, by using the gifts he has provided to serve Him. . .by serving your fellow man.
While the story, The Star Who Almost Wasn’t There” has a message that is valuable 365 days a year, the event that transforms the Star is a First Christmas event. Many people will be most interested in this story near to Christmas. I am hopeful that many see it as a way to bring the meaning and message of Christmas to their family celebrations. And I hope that many recognize that the story is readable all year long.
Over time, I believe we will create a snowball effect of sharing this story and spreading the message far and wide. Perhaps some of you will be moved to volunteer to help, by simply sharing the story, providing links to this site or to the nonprofit site once it is established, by creating playful youtube videos that feature the story, perhaps by helping to translate the story to other languages, by bringing this to attention of your church leaders. . .or any number of other ways.
I hope some of you are moved to become doners, purchasing books at reduced prices for distribution to children everywhere. I hope that I will be able to introduce you to a new website for that purpose with the next newsletter.
If you ever choose to visit Chicago, I invite you to attend services at Rogers Park Presbyterian Church, and to tell friends in the city about this church. You can visit them on the web: http://www.rogersparkpresbyterian.org/
Please share your thoughts by adding comments.
It was a wonderful adventure and I thank Skip. . . and Roger . . .for helping to make it possible.