The Peacemaking Offering always makes me think of the Hennessies.
Anne was a welcoming fellow alto when I started singing with the choir. She made me feel like I wasn’t completely incompetent, by sharing the secret that listening to the people around you to stay on pitch is not only not cheating, it’s what everyone does. (Thanks for that!!) She was game to volunteer for anything at church at least once, from hanging drywall for Habitat for Humanity to shepherding first-graders through the stations of the Vacation Bible School. In other words, she was courageous.
Bill was the kind of tenor who gives the tenor section the reputation for being wiseacres. (As far as I can tell, this is a universal feature of the tenor section; Bill was a prototypical and exuberant tenor.) If a pun could be made, Bill would make it. He was also an accomplished musician, an introducer of new-to-you music – I owe my love of “Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether” to him – and someone who could tell jokes on the organ. Like the time he played “Open My Eyes That I Might See” before choir practice and made it sound like a circus calliope. (Which it richly deserves, too.)
The Hennessies are the reason we take up the Peacemaking Offering.
When the Hennessies moved here, back in 1994 or thereabouts, one of the first things they asked was whether we “received the Peacemaking Offering.” In those days, the church took up three of the PC(USA)’s four special offerings: One Great Hour of Sharing, Pentecost, and Christmas Joy. But for some reason, not Peacemaking.
Not because anyone in the congregation at the time was actively against it.
Probably because it was new – like, only 14 years old – so the church hadn’t already been collecting it forever, and had just never gotten around to starting. Inertia. It happens at church.
Anyway, the Hennessies asked if we would start taking up that special offering, then, because it was important to them, as was mission generally, and Teaching Tolerance initiatives like the Peacemaking Offering especially.
The Mission Committee liked the idea, the Session liked the idea, the congregation jumped right in. People just needed that nudge in the direction of actually getting it on the calendar and doing it.
We’ve been collecting that Peacemaking Offering ever since.
In this case, I think the inertia is a good thing. Plus, it always makes me think of the Hennessies. Another good thing.
Image: Werner Reiterer: gesture (2003/04) by Clemens Stockner, CC-BY-SA-3.0, Wikimedia Commons.