Friday, August 03, 2001

With this Friday, Aug. 3rd, our local edition of "Fair Season" kicks into full gear.
The Ohio State Fair in Columbus, including displays by Aaron Dunkle and Tracy Wildermuth, starts before and ends after our own Hartford Fair Aug. 5th through the 11th. Prime Producers and Stablemates 4-H will be well represented up in Croton, along with livestock from many of our farm families. I had the pleasure of dropping in on the last 4-H meeting of the season last Sunday night where a slight 7-year-old girl demonstrated (in case I ever need to know!) how to show a Black Angus, a skill that she clearly mastered "oh, years and years ago!" Then there's the Sweetcorn Festival parade Aug. 29th and the next few days in Millersport, and finally the Lancaster Fair as the air grows crisp of an evening -- a blessed thought!

These festivals are a piece of community building that we all have a stake in: whether we ourselves are deep frying doughnuts, ripping tickets, showing sheep, or just sitting in a folding chair as the parade passes by, our participation is a piece of real life and actual contact that sustains the event and can be an invitation to others to join in. Most of you reading this know that I feel the "bad side" of the internet has been over-emphasized and hyped up, and that on-line tools like e-mail and web pages are just that -- tools, that can be handled for good or ill, just as a hammer can't properly set a screw and a screwdriver handle is not right for driving nails. In the right time and place, the web can build community. For example, have you seen the pictures of VBS, Badger Camp, or Family Camp at our web site: ? But more and better pictures can be seen on the bulletin board on the back wall of the sanctuary if you actually come to church...

We need to keep alive our community festivals and gatherings because that's where real - not virtual! - human community can happen, and we need to be active about extending invitations to worship and fellowship to those around us because that's where real Christian community is formed as well.