Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 56, May 8, 2020
“Our tone”

Sitting on the desk in my home office is a commemorative coffee mug. The mug is from our church. The coffee mug has a peaceful picture of our church, the front of the church with the big cross that is displayed so prominently. Beginning my morning by looking at that coffee mug with such a peaceful picture sets the tone for my day.

I wonder if a church has a tone. We refer to a tone of voice, whether it is happy tone, a kind tone, a harsh tone, maybe a sarcastic tone. Does a church have a tone? I think a church does have a tone, and I am happy to tell you I like the tone of our church.

Recently Alex Houston said he had some friends who were struggling with the Coronavirus, including the wife, a nurse, who has tested positive. The husband reached out to Alex. Apparently, Alex makes an awesome corn chowder, and the husband was hoping as they faced this difficult time that Alex would make some of his corn chowder. When you face a crisis comfort food comes in handy. If you know Alex, you know he got right on it. He pulled out his recipe book that he uses to make his delicious corn chowder. It is a Cookbook put out by our church sometime in the 90’s with the title, “Recipes from the Plate.” He found the recipe for the Corn Chowder and he noticed the recipe had been submitted by Betsy Jewell. Along with making the chowder for his friends, Alex asked if I might find a way to let Betsy know her recipe was still bringing not only delicious soup to people, but also stirring some delightful memories. Guess what? As I read that email from Alex, I really liked the tone of his note.

Wednesday I wrote a letter to Betsy telling of what Alex had done. I drove over to the Royal, the Nursing Home where Betsy lives. I dropped a letter off for her at the front door. Without even knowing she did it, Betsy was one of the first friends who set the tone for me at Dunn’s Corners. Unfortunately, soon after we moved to Westerly Betsy had some setbacks and had to be moved to a nursing home. I showed up to visit her. When the attendant at the front desk asked who I came to visit, and I told her Betsy Jewell, she practically broke down in tears. She said, “We all know Betsy. She used to come here all the time, visiting anyone who was sick or lonely. Betsy is the most amazing person.” Does a church have a tone? I think so. I think a person like Betsy Jewell sets the tone, thinking of others, visiting, caring, and showing kindness.

Driving to the Royal Nursing Home I thought of Peg Wolstencroft. Peg is now at the Royal. Peg and Sam Wolstencroft were founding members at Dunn’s Corners. Peg helped set the tone. Before her health took a turn for the worse, Peg would drop by church on Tuesday afternoons. On Tuesdays Peg would have lunch at the Senior Center, and at the lunch they would always give her a cake to take home. Well, the cake never made it home. Peggy knew the youth group met on Tuesday nights, so every Tuesday afternoon she would drop off her cake for the teens. Peggy set a sweet tone at the church, and I mean that in more ways than one.

Barbara Green is also at the Royal. A few months after arriving at Dunn’s Corners Dutch and Barbara asked me to come visit them at their home. I arrived at their home and Barbara greeted me with a big smile. She said Dutch had the car warmed up and wanted to take us all out to lunch. I climbed in and Dutch took me to the middle of nowhere. Literally…there is this darling café somewhere on the way towards Providence that is called “The Middle of Nowhere” café. We had the best lunch. The smiling faces and warm welcome of Dutch and Barbara helped set the tone for our church, and it is a happy and friendly tone.

Florence Madison used to live at the Royal before she died last fall. Among the many remembrances Florence would share about Dunn’s Corners, one stands out. Florence was deeply touched by Dutch’s dad, Ed Green, whose store at Dunn’s Corners was a fixture for many years. At some point on almost every visit Florence would think back on Ed Green and his store and say, “Ed Green carried a lot of people through difficult times.” I guess Ed Green extended credit. I’m pretty sure he did even more than that. Whatever Ed Green did, it set a tone that our dear friend Florence never forgot. So here I start my day looking at my coffee mug with the picture of the cross on the front of our church, and I’m asking myself, “What is the tone for our church?” Then a pleasant thought comes to mind. What is Dunn’s Corners tone? That cross holds the key to the answer for what our tone is as a church. What is Dunn’s Corners tone? Let me spell that question just a little differently. I’m going to remove the space between Corners and tone. “What is Dunn’s Cornerstone?”
“The stone the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone.” Psalm 118:22
Jesus is our Cornerstone, and his life of love sets the tone that lives in each one of our hearts.

With the love of Christ,