Dear friends,

As we begin a new week in this strange time I remind you of some ways that we can be helpful to our neighbors in need. First of all, we are preparing for our time to host Family Promise, which is August 9-16. As I’ve said before this is a different situation. St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody has graciously provided space for our families since March. We do not need people to cook and serve meals or be evening hosts. The families take care of their own meals. Here is what we DO still need:

  • 3 $25 Kroger gift cards
  • 5 $25 gas cards
  • 1 pack disinfectant wipes
  • Disposable silverware (enough for the week for three families)
  • 8-pack paper towels

You may either mail the gift cards to church or drop them off. If no one is here, please come to the back of the church and slip them through Dunstan’s cat door into my office. The supplies can also be put on the back deck next to my office. (Come up the center steps in the Beech Grove, turn left and my office is the last one.)

We also need people to spend the night Monday through Thursday (August 8, 9, 10, 11). All the overnight volunteers need to do is sleep there, in an area away from the families. The church is at 1978 Mt. Vernon Road.

You can sign up for donations or to spend the night at our website, Click on the SignUp Genius button at the bottom of the page.

Of course, we are also collecting food donations for the Sandy Springs pop up pantry. Right now there are only a few things for this week. Elise MacIntyre will deliver whatever is there on Wednesday. For those of you who have made much-appreciated financial donations to the pantries, know that we use those to do supplemental shopping for weeks that we don’t have a lot of donations, or for the pantry’s specific needs.

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days of the deaths of Congressman John Lewis, the Rev. C.T, Vivian, and the death of the Rev. Joseph Lowery earlier this year. Both the nation and Atlanta have been blessed by these lions of the Civil Rights movement. Motivated and strengthened by their deep faith, they were willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of their people and their country. What a debt we owe to them.

I’d like to share with you one of my favorite John Lewis stories. It is from his memoir, Walking With the Wind, which I highly recommend to anyone who has not read it. It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I also treasure it because it was given to me by my great mentor and friend Celestine Sibley (grandmother of our Sibley Fleming). This is the story from which the book got its title.

It was a Saturday afternoon and Lewis and 14 of his cousins were playing at his Aunt Seneva’s sharecropper’s cabin in rural Alabama. The sky began clouding over, the wind started picking up, lightning flashed. As the sky blackened and the wind grew stronger, Aunt Seneva herded the children inside.

“Her house was not the biggest place around, and it seemed even smaller with so many children squeezed in it,” Lewis recalls. “Small and surprisingly quiet. All of the shouting and laughter that had gone on earlier had stopped. Now the wind was howling, and the house was starting to shake. We were scared.

“And then it got worse. Now the house was beginning to sway. The wood plank flooring beneath us began to bend. And then, a corner of the room started lifting up.

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Lewis writes. “None of us could. This storm was actually pulling the house toward the sky. With us inside it.

“That was when Aunt Seneva told us to clasp hands. Line up and hold hands, she said, and we did as we were told. Then she had us walk as a group toward the corner of the room that was rising. From the kitchen to the front of the house we walked, the wind screaming outside, sheets of rain beating on the tin roof. Then we walked back in the other direction, as another end of the house began to lift.

“And so it went, back and forth, 15 children walking with the wind, holding that trembling house down with the weight of our small bodies.”

Children of God, holding hands, walking with the wind, each body important for the salvation of all.

The service of compline for this week (at 8 p.m.) is attached.

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