Trip Report

July 18, 2006

In the words of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home!”

That’s not to say we didn’t thoroughly enjoy our trip. Actually, we took two trips–one to the mountains, and one to visit a church in the Triangle area of NC.

My wife and I spent six days in the Appalachian foothills of South Carolina, walking mountain trails to about ten different waterfalls and taking in some magnificent scenery. We encountered a variety of wildlife (various snakes, lizards, a blue heron, hawks, vultures, miscellaneous other birds, squirrels, something like a weasel or river otter, but — surprisingly — no deer). That’s my idea of a great vacation!

On the first weekend, we visited a mainline church of Christ in a small town in the area. There was a good age distribution in the congregation, though there were more over-60 folks than I am used to seeing. The attendance was a little over 100. The congregation has four elders and is in the process of appointing a fifth (a couple of the elders are facing some health issues). Singing was a cappella, consisting of familiar old church hymns. We like that. The preacher was young, in his late 20’s. He preached a good sermon on 1 Cor 10:13. After service, one of their zones hosted a covered dish lunch for visitors, which we enjoyed very much.

On Thursday we returned home for our own congregation’s midweek service, joined up with the other elder and his wife, and travelled Friday to the Triangle area of NC to visit with the elders of the Triangle Church, a congregation that shares the same recent history and heritage as our own. We stayed with one of their deacons, a family that has been best friends of ours for 25 years. On Saturday we spent many hours visiting and talking with their elders and one of their ministers. It was very obvious that our two congregations have a tremendous amount in common, both in our strengths and in our weaknesses. We exchanged thoughts and approaches to address the needs in our two congregations.

On the second Sunday we attended the service of the west region of the Triangle church. Like the congregation we visited the previous week, the singing was a cappella. But this time it was a mixture of old hymns and more contemporary songs. The sermon was interactive, with a roving microphone being passed to individuals in the congregation who wished to share a scripture or a thought on the subject. The topic was an introspective look at worship and connecting with God. Overall the flavor of the service was more “post-modern” than the previous week. But it was deeply spiritual.

Returning home, we were very tired, but it was a “good tired.” That is typical of my vacations. I’m really haven’t figured out how to have a restful vacation! So it’s good to be home.

P.S. I’ll be very busy for the next three weeks as I prepare for taking the CISSP certification exam. Please pray for me!

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