Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Dispatches along the road

After noting my visit to Purgatory Chasm on Saturday, I was quite surprised to find out a day later that a college student had fallen to her death there just one day before I visited. It suppose it was better that I learned about the accident after I visited (the first fatal fall there in 24 years), as I probably would have focused on the spot where she fell if I'd known in advance. And it does go to show that yes, people who get too close to the edges of cliffs do occasionally fall.

Sunday I worshipped at Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Providence, and it was good. A nice combination of solid teaching, a diverse and interested congregation, and a loving spirit. I spoke to Pastor Melvin Sensenig, and got a bit of a sense of the challenges he faces leading a reformed church in Rhode Island, in the same neighborhood as Brown University. Others in the congregation mentioned that Brown's chaplain is not in favor of recognizing the reformed university fellowship on campus, though I don't know what her issue with them might be other than they hold to version of Christianity close to the traditional, historic, apostolic variety, which is of course seen as downright scary these days.

I notice that Trinity Presbyterian is on the prayer list for the PCA's "Mission To North America" (which is 50 days of prayer for church needs on this continent) for May 6. The MNA's 50 days of prayer begin this Wednesday!

When I was at Trinity Presbyterian, I met a gentleman named Nathaniel, his Brother Samuel, and Samuel's wife Gladys. It was great to have a chance to get to know them briefly. They exuded a warmth and sincerity that I really appreciated. They are all originally from Liberia, a country which is experiencing a lot of unrest. They were all thankful to be here in the United States, especially Samuel and Gladys, who just made it here last summer. They related how a member of their tribe had been the leader of a rebellion, and now their whole tribe was subject to what amounts to a rather specific form of ethnic cleansing. I am so thankful to be a citizen of the United States!

One other note about Trinity Presbyterian - They meet in the Benefit Street Arsenal in Providence, a nearly 200-year-old Marine arsenal that I had been to before - almost 30 years ago, when as a young boy, I accompanied my Father to a reunion of his World War II Army unit, the 43rd Infantry Division. I didn't realize this before I arrived at church on Sunday. I don't remember much about the place from that day long ago, though looking up at the plaques that commemorated various campaigns, such as Meuse-Argonne in 1918, and Espititu Santo in 1942, reminded me of the great sacrifices those in generations past made for their country. As I kid there circa 1973, I was pretty bored amongst all those old reminiscing guys. Now that I think that the majority of the veterans who were there that day have passed away since, I'm convicted to find some opportunities to thank our vets.


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