It wasn't until I got older that I started to understand about the "ashes" thing and the forty days before Easter Sunday. Getting older and knowing more about the forty days also meant that we had to "give up" something that we liked, usually trips to the candy store. I would look forward to that Easter Sunday morning when I knew I'd have a basket FULL of candy. It would be gone within a week and then everything would be back to normal.
It's been a frustrating year being back on the board and trying to figure out how get the community back in to a joyful reunion type of atmosphere, without seeing little results. Frankly I was a breath away from just sending in my written resignation. It was only from my daily Bible reading that kept me in the game. I felt that I was failing in leading the community. With two (fall and spring) cancelled weekend events, I'd hit the bottom. It was only having Rae Williams, with support from Dennis, coming back on as the community lay director that kept me in the game; hope in her leadership and her faith.
There was a small storm of people "suggesting" what we should do when we canceled the spring walks. This is a pain in the side of the board, since the board goes over all the details that are involved; picking possible dates, looking at calendars and checking with the church's schedule. Once things get rolling, it takes almost a hundred people to support a walk and that's not including sponsors and pilgrims checking their calendars and arranging for time off work, etc. We don't just decide to have a party and send out invitations two weeks in advance. It takes months of planning and preparations. We had a team for the conference room, we had an auxiliary team lined up, we had a kitchen team lined up and we had the facility reserved. What we didn't have were the minimum required number of pilgrims to be registered two weeks prior to "the walk"; this is responsibility of the community.
Just as I, as a child, didn't see that the forty days of Lent was a time of preparation before Easter, I believe we as a community are only looking at the “Easter morning” of the Emmaus experience. We have 6 months between walks, so why do we wait until the last few weeks to line up pilgrims? Many people in the community no longer want to be part of a team; conference room, auxiliary or kitchen, feeling that the weekend will be canceled. They have given up hope, lost faith in the response of the community. The same goes for sponsors, they too seemed to have given up hope. Why put in the time and effort?
When we get our cross at the end of "our weekend", do you remember what you said when you were told "Christ is counting on you”?
The fall walk will be slated for October; you will have April, May, June, July and August to pray for and approach a potential pilgrims. Don't put it off, don't say there is plenty of time. The current board will stick with the guide lines set by the Upper Room Walk to Emmaus. I pray that we don't have a line item on the board meeting agenda for November titled: Community Dissolvent Actions
I pray that we think and pray long and hard on this during this per-Easter season.
GLYASDI - Rocky Starland