This weekend Kris and I were in Twelve Mile Indiana at the kind invitation and warm hospitality of Mike and Joy Thompson. We did a Jesus Creed day with a group from Corinth Brethren Church and some pastors in the Brethren Church, and then on Sunday I was asked to preach and did so on the theme of becoming missional — by learning from the blue parakeet. We loved it. Where to begin?
Corinth Brethren rises like a witness on a bend on a rural road lined with beans and corn. It’s been in the heartland of Indiana for more than a hundred years and there are families in the church whose families have been farming there for generations. The tie to the land is palpable and gives one the impression that one is entering into sacred land. I sure felt that way.
Pastor Mike Thompson, a student of my friend Craig Blomberg, now teaching some over at
Huntingdon College Huntington University, and doing PhD work with Max Turner in London, organized and orchestrated for us a seamless event. And not only that, when I had a little joke about playing golf, this appeared on the over head:
Joy, his wife, designed a beautiful tapestry for the church. (We forgot our camera.) Candles, some corinthian columns, and two tapestries hanging from the ceiling made for a rich backdrop to the worship and teaching for the weekend. We’ve been in plenty of churches, and we like the creativity of local folks.
The characters were fantastic: not only did we enjoy meeting Mike and Joy, but Joy’s mom and dad (Judy and Mo) are from a church in Davis IL that a friend of ours started decades ago; Mike’s mom and dad ate dinner with us — and the two grandmas showered their attention on their cute little grand daughter Maleena (sp?). And what can I say about the questions from folks and the good time learning about farming at lunch on Saturday?
We met up Saturday morning with two pastors from Nappanee, Bart Shaw and Ryan Smith (see here) and they escorted us down to Twelve Mile from Nappanee — and I doubt we could have found Corinth Brethren without an escort! We enjoyed breakfast and our time with both Bart and Ryan.
Oh, and I need to mention that Kris and I spent a glorious Friday in and around Nappanee. Not only did we enjoy driving around the countryside looking at the beautiful Amish farms, buggies, but we also drove by 2 Amish schools with kids playing in the schoolyard, saw Amish men farming with horse and plough, and we enjoyed the beautifully tended homes and gardens. We stopped at Rentown Country Store (an Amish grocery store) and just had to purchase 3 different types of homemade pies. We had lunch there of homemade chili and potato soup ($3.00 total for the tab!). Nappanee was having their annual apple festival with all the activities associated with that. The one event that we were quite impressed with was the baking of a 7 foot, 600 pound apple pie. We held ourselves to sharing one piece, doused with some nice ice cream and washed down with some coffee. Diane, the B&B owner where we stayed, gave us the history of this pie-making event and it is something else.