Christmastide Blessings

Christmastide Blessings
Annual Incarnation of the Story of the Birth of Jesus

Continuing the work of Jesus, simply, peacefully, JOYFULLY, together.

We worship at 9:30 am on Sunday.
Sunday School begins at 11 am.
Potluck is the first Sunday of the month.

17975 Centreville-Constantine Road, Constantine, MI 49042

florence.brethren.mennonite@gmail.com

Saturday, August 29, 2009

River Country Monologue Photos

Jheny Nieto and Carli Thompson read "Here and There" in Spanish and English.
Julie Keefer and Emily Welty.

Peggy Deames, Debra Abel and Jane Bowers.


Back Row: Karen Hay, Emma Fenton-Miller, Julie Keefer.
Front Row: Daniela Zehr, Jheny Nieto, Carli Thompson.



Debra Abel, Kathy Rabbers, Karla Kauffman, Daniela Zehr.




Emily Welty, Jane Bowers, Katie Houston.





Monologues -- Tell me your story; I will listen.


River Country Monologues was one of those dreams that caught the wind of the Spirit and took off! When I first talked with Jheny Nieto and Daniela Zehr about the idea of collecting stories from our local community, I thought, "If there are sixteen people sitting around on Sunday evening, August 23rd, listening to a few good stories, I will be satisfied."

You can imagine the joy and excitement of fourteen readers, ages 6 through 60-something, when the room of about 100 chairs at Trinity Episcopal filled last Sunday evening. Goshen College students, friends of the Domestic and Sexual Assault Shelter, Florencians, family, friends, World Fare loyalists, and Trinity's own pastor Lilvis and friends made a diverse crowd. Though some of the pieces were challenging, either due to the demands of poetry or of emotional and ethical stretching, the audience followed as each story was shared.

Readers tried to find "the voice" of each writer. The found "rage" (even more powerful in Spanish), playful sexuality, agonizing inter-generational squeeze, and the damage done by relationships gone awry.

Skylar Perkins (age 6) lightened the night by reciting the nursery rhyme, "Ladybug, ladybug" before her grandmother, Jane Bowers recited the poem, "Ladybug Motherhood."

Many kudos go to Daniela and Jheny for spending hours on fliers, in meetings, and especially in translating most of the pieces into Spanish. This made a truly bi-lingual evening possible.

One of my greatest thrills was to see who signed up with "further interest" in gathering and hearing women's AND MEN'S stories. Ten women and seven men left contact information. I will be sharing this with those who are intersted. I am hoping that maybe we can have another performance of River Country Monologues -- either in February, when many communitites host this kind of event -- or next summer. Stay tuned.

Here is the program:

RIVER COUNTRY MONOLOGUES

ACT ONE
If your vagina could talk…
All

Smoking Lesbian Fruit
Julie Keefer

Beautiful Daughter
Debra Abel

One woman’s experiences of walking over the years:
Women Walking 1
Emma Fenton-Miller
Women Walking 2
Emily Welty
Women Walking 3
Karla Kauffman

Here and There
Jheny Nieto -Spanish
Carli Thompson -English

Ladybug, Ladybug
Skylar Perkins

Ladybug Motherhood
Jane Bowers

Virginity
All

Longing for Moontime
Kathy Rabbers

ACT TWO
Womanly Frustrations
All

Caring for a Parent
Peggy Deames

War on the Women of Iraq
Karen Haye

Rage
Daniela Zehr -Spanish
Carli Thompson -English

He’s Asleep
Kathy Rabber

Two stories of experiences of the same woman:
Believe
Katie Houston
Julie Keefer

Farmer Luke and the Farmer in the Dale



Church is about discipleship -- passing on our faith tradition of knowledge, values, practices, wisdom --from one generation to the next. As Anabaptists we value living faith in earthy ways in daily life. For Luke Nofsinger and Dale Hasenick the tradition of discipleship has been in daily working conversation and action in the fields of White Yarrow Farm, Marcellus, MI.

In an era where the brightest and best students from rural communities go off to college and to jobs in other more "exotic" places, Luke Nofsinger decided to come home after his senior year at Goshen College. Why? What he wanted to learn most was right in his back yard.

Luke has been pondering the dream of becoming an organic farmer. On the property adjacent to his parent's farm on Bair Lane in Marcellus, MI stands White Yarrow Farm. On Luke's back doorstep about four acres are cultivated using the principles of organic farming by the husband wife team of Dale Hasenick and Jo Beachy.

Dale and Jo are in their tenth season selling vegetables and flowers at the Mill Race Farmer's Market in Goshen, IN. Since 2003, they have also provided fresh produce to local supporters who buy shares of their Community Supported Agriculture Project. These “subscribers” then receive a box of vegetables each week.

Luke, who dreams of being an organic farmer one day, seized the opportunity to complete his Goshen College internship by working with Dale and Jo this summer. He spent mornings alongside Dale hearing a constant stream of information in accompaniment to planting broccoli, weeding onions, and picking some of the sweetest cherry tomatoes around. But following Dale around was not enough.

Luke immediately applied his agricultural training to his own home gardening, including raising pastured chickens. He did note that one of the hardest jobs he did all summer was gathering chickens, three times, in preparation for slaughter.

Luke easily admits that working in heat and humidity was challenging. However, he praised Dale's mentoring: "If anything he gave me too much information. It was way more than I could ever absorb. He explained everything we did and why."

In addition to this farm work, Luke’s communication’s training enabled him to produce a slide show about White Yarrow Farm for marketing purposes.
Dale appreciated having Luke's additional hands for work, and also his questions. It made him realize that he, too, longs for more opportunity to keep learning from others. "I have joked with some of our customers about taking a sabbatical to work on a larger organic farm." Dale, an essentially self taught vegetable farmer, sees there is always more to learn about growing and marketing.

When asked about his future dreams, Luke replied, "I would love to had a small organic farm, with goats and with a winery on the border of France and Spain." My heart sank. So much for the local boy returning to the fields of his childhood.

When pressed, Luke added, "Well, location is not the most important thing. The real dream is being a farmer, growing good food. That I can do anywhere, but France sounds cool right now."

White Yarrow Farm at 3240 Bair Lane in Marcellus, MI (269-646-2574) is one example of a small farm dream come true for “the farmer in the Dale.” But, will small communities like Marcellus and Constantine show that aspiring young farmers like Luke are not only welcome but desired? Will we create the kinds of communities where Luke and others want to raise not only vegetables but kids? Time will tell.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

River County Monologues: Sunday, August 23rd at 7:30 pm









As we sit together and read through the poems and stories we received, the women of River Country Monologues are engaged and empowered. The readers now have the challenge of bringing to life voices and stories not of their own making. These murmurs and shouts from "every-woman" of St. Joseph, Cass and Elkhart Counties move from whimsy to rage to deep reflection and back again. Daniela Zehr and Jheny Nieto are steadily encouraging women to join in this project in any way they can. Please feel free to drop by World Fare on Main Street in Three Rivers at 7 pm this Thursday and next to participate as a reader -- or as a listener helping to shape the program.

The performance will be at 7:30 pm on Sunday, August 23rd at Trinity Episcopal Church, 321 N. Main Street, in Three Rivers. All are welcome! A free will donation will benefit Domestic Assault and Abuse Services of Three Rivers.