Lest you think from Jessie’s last entry that I have been off to Canada just eating and drinking (although I was indeed wined and dined and felt like Queen-for-a Day only Queen for 5 days) I was there primarily to preach at a beautiful historic church in Niagara-on-the Falls, Ontario and to present our newest Power Point show of our last journey to Tanzania.  I won’t give you the figure yet about the money raised for Tanzania because they are still counting it and Randy Legallais still has some contacts to make of those who said they wanted to contribute.   I have a picture of me with the rector of St. Mark’s, Father Bob, to prove that I was working although I never felt that deaconing was working, but have not downloaded my pictures yet.  Fr. Bob presented me with Walter Brueggaman’s newest book and also a CD of a talk by John Dominck Crossan (no doubt you have seen him on TV) AND the most gorgeous framed painting of their church on a snowy day,  something to be cherished for the rest of my days.

The Legallais’ who spend part of the year in Pinehurst and the other at their beautiful home in Ontario had a lovely dinner party for me with 20 members of their church.  One very kind guest arranged for me to light Niagara Falls one evening.  It was an eery feeling to go into an  inner sanctum of the gentleman who has lit the Falls for 27 years.  Posted signs were almost scary reading:  “High Voltage ~ Do not Enter.”  I felt as if I was going to meet the Hunchback of Notre Dame ~ his interior domain is high up over the Falls filled with old clippings about those who went over in barrels ~ who survived and who didn’t.  There are record books about the place and I noticed a half-eaten banana.  It’s his sanctuary.  But then one sees a huge computer panel marked with colored buttons ~ it is from there that the colors are changed.  First he took us outside (like being on top of Notre Dame) ~ what a sight ~ the Falls way down below and  hundreds of ant-sized people waiting for the spectacular show (8:30 p.m. until midnight).  Enormous spot lights are directed to the American side and the Canadian side.  Then the keeper of the lights invited us inside and let us punch the buttons ~ any color we wanted.  It’s the most control I have ever had over anything!  Imagine, a small-town deacon there to tell the story of Jessie’s and my involvement with the people of Tanzania, controlling the flood lights on Niagara Falls!

I’m back in the States staying with Jessie’s sister in Connecticut while she is being “artist-in-residence” at one of her colleges in Massachusetts.  It’s nice to have time to read, reflect on Karimu, look into more grants, and to do some writing.  Sometimes I feel as if I have had many lives and this is the newest.  Bishop Curry says this is real deacon’s work ~ bringing the church to the world and bringing the needs of the world to the church.  I was even privileged to take Holy Communion to a friend of Jessie’s sister who is in a rehab facility and I look forward to meeting Father Nicholas here in Fairfield.  So I am still a deacon even though retired.  Go figure.

Bless all of you who continue to read our blog and share our hopes and dreams for our friends in Tanzania.