Easter Sunday was, as one would expect, a very long day. With a 6:30am Sunrise Service to start the day, Andrea and I were well on our way to Good Shepherd while the stars still shone in the sky. I gave my Easter sermon, had breakfast with my parents in the fellowship hall, marathoned two more services, and then Andrea and I had a fantastic dinner at the home of some of our lovely parishioners. It was a long day, but it was full of celebration - the kind that can only be concluded with a nice, joyful nap.
This past weekend, our congregation held its annual "Garage" sale in the basement of the church. For the week leading up to the event, parishioners lined their cars up by the back door, and one-by-one unloaded their old belongings to donate to the sale. It was literally a non-stop flow of traffic three days in a row. When we thought no more could come in, more came in. When we thought we couldn't fit any more in, we fit more in.
We filled the entire floor of the Family Life Center (pictured above), two Sunday School rooms, the fellowship hall, and the long hallway between them all. The whole basement was full of furniture, clothes, holiday decorations, toys, exercise equipment, dishes, antiques, books, movies, and everything imaginable. I'm almost certain I've been in smaller thrift stores.
For two days, people from Palos Heights and all the surrounding suburbs came to find hidden treasures, good deals, and new-to-them home furnishings. There were about 80 parishioners who helped out through the week, working together, and having a fantastic time. And, when it was all said and done, we managed to raise around eight thousand dollars! On top of that, there were over two moving trucks of items left over, which a local charity took to sell in their thrift store. The money raised is going to be used to send our teenagers to the Youth Gathering in New Orleans this fall, and with 33 people going, it's going to go a long way in helping our high schoolers have a fantastic experience this July.
I am constantly amazed at the continued love and care that the people at the congregation, and in this community, have for one another. It's truly a reflection of God's love.