|Posted by Baltimore Lutheran Campus Ministry on March 19, 2017 at 1:10 AM|
We left this morning from Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Petersburg Virginia, where Pastor Paul Christian let us stay for the night. Paul was an intern at St. Paul's in Lutherville, just a few miles from Towson, back in 2009-2010 and now our paths crossed again. On the floor of the church right before the entrance to the sanctuary was an engraved stone reminding us, "nor shout, nor rush, but hush- God is here." Good reminders of the days ahead. Don't hurry too much or speak too much so that we fail to notice God in our midst and through the brothers and sisters we meet.
The rain dampened a stop to see Vollis Simpson's whirligigs in Wilson, NC. Mr. Simpson was a folk artist, making joyful, whimsical twirling scultures out of metal. People who dedicate part of their lives to adding beauty that brings joy to others are amazing.
We arrived in Pembroke, NC after lunch to our upgraded accommodations at First United Methodist Church (since the educational center where we were going to stay still has flood damage.) This means we have a great kitchen and carpeted floors! But not only that, Pastor Matheue Locklear greeted us and told us about his congregation and his life as a pastor. He is originally from the area and is a member of the Lumbee tribe, the largest Native American group in this part of North Carolina. Since Methodist pastors move often and he has pastored both primarily Native congregations as well as non-Native congregations, we asked what the differences were between them. He said it had a lot to do with a shared history and shared stories as well as the relationships between people- here he knows people by face or at least what family they are from. And that lends a different depth to community. And there is also a rootedness to the people in a tribe- they are always connected to this place and either never leave, or will almost alwas return here at some point. Which sounds like a pretty beautiful thing to a campus pastor whose congregation is always moving away every year!
We are only a few blocks away from the University of North Carolina Pembroke- originally founded in 1887 as a normal school for Native Americans. The first Anglo student wasn't admitted until 1949 and it has since then evolved to become a campus of UNC. Today UNC Pemboke was hosting a Pow-wow. We arrived ready to pay our entrance fee, but the the Office of Community and Civic Engagement had a table near the enrance and noticed us. They asked to pay the entrance fee for all 19 of us to thank us for serving for the week in their county doing flood relief work. What an amazing blessing!
The pow-wow was amazing, although we are looking forward to talking to someone who can explain more about it to us in the coming days. The major part of the pow-wow is a ceremonial dance competition, with people from 4 year olds through grandmothers dancing in different categories- celebration, traditional, jingle, and fancy- while groups of men played drums and sang for each dance. Different people were called up to judge each dance, many of them who would also be competing in other dances later. They heard their name called and willingly served- the community at the pow-wow had an undersatnding of how it was called to function and each felt empowered to do their part. That's an awsome vision for Christian community.
After some tremendous macaroni and cheese, we were eager to go to the Fire Circle to celebrate the equinox. But a deluge did away with those possibilities. So, onto plan B at Mr. P's SkateWorld!! Roller skating for the night (where parents get in free - and they counted the pastors as parents- and there are discounts for church groups!) with the money we saved on the pow-wow! There was frustration, but far more laughter. And there was a lot of falling but even more holding each other up and pulling each other up from the ground. May our week continue like that!
Tomorrow we head to St. Mark's Lutheran in Lumberton where the campus pastors will be helping lead worship for a congregation who is without a pastor and we'll your some of the areas of Lumberton affected by the flooding. And we'll meet Mac Legerton, our host for the week.