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Uncertain Journeys

I just finished reading the book River Horse by William Least Heat-Moon. It chronicles his trip by boat across the country from the Atlantic near New York City to the Pacific near Portland, Oregon. It was an amazing journey, requiring a surprisingly minimal amount of portage. Despite a great deal of planning and the assistance of various team members, the journey was threatened to be terminated numerous times along the

5,288 river miles. Weather, equipment problems, and just bad fortune seemed to put obstacles in the way. But, determination and often plain luck came to the rescue and enabled him to dump a bottle of water into the Pacific that he had collected three and a half months earlier from the Atlantic. (That would have been a great contribution to a water communion!)

That trip could be seen as a parallel to many journeys, including the life of a church. Success requires determination, planning, contributions of many team members, and sometimes just plain luck. A church can encounter many obstacles; e.g. less than optimal financial strength, loss of members, committee member burnout, as well as diminished determination and focus. Westside has some familiarity with these obstacles. Committees are lacking in volunteers; in some cases, resulting in their being totally inactive. Our financial picture has improved, but we need to have that carried over into the coming year's canvass. Despite losing some members for various reasons and

having others just sort of go into hibernation, we have also seen new faces in the congregation. Hopefully, our new efforts at improving Sunday services will make that be a regular occurrence. But, we need more than attendance on Sunday mornings. We need people to volunteer their time and talents to the various tasks that are necessary for the function of this church. You cannot expect that there will always be somebody to greet you at the door, fix that coffee, teach RE, or take care of the appearance of the building and grounds. We all have to step into those roles and be that somebody. There are plenty of needs. Ask Rev. Carol or any Board member where you can help out.

Just like in his earlier book, Blue Highways, William Least Heat-Moon encountered satisfying adventures and interesting people along his journeys. That's kind of what can happen here at Westside if only our team can come together, and with the help of dedication, determination, and maybe a little luck, overcome any obstacles that we face and make ours a successful journey despite the ever-present uncertainties.

Len Walker

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