Phil and I lost a tree this week… no big deal except it was a very large tree that fell in the middle of the night—a beautiful white oak that one arborist said may date to the Civil War. We’re anxious to count the rings before the stump is removed but now after a few days of her falling, I’m not sure the number of rings will matter that much to us. What matters is we deeply miss her stately and tall presence in our yard and on our street. Did I say this was a LARGE tree? The leaves on the mighty oak shaded our front yard, driveway, and half of our neighbor’s front yard. The tree provided shade from the setting west sun and gave us gentle, cool breezes. She was refuge to a host of squirrels and hawks, inviting Riley, our crazy dog, to race around the tree each time the front door opened. This tree was big enough for hide-and-seek games between Phil and young grandsons. I didn’t know I would ever miss a tree… until this week.
This old tree also marked home for our family and three other families since 1939 when the house was built. Before that who knows the number of people who lived on the land, sitting under her shade and watching her grow. I’m grateful for the tree’s strength and stability for 100+ years much as we have been cherishing Highland as a church and faith community for 125 years. During this Thanksgiving week as we pause to count our blessings, may we also remember the values Highland Baptist Church recently named:
- May we cherish our healthy community where all are welcome.
- May we continue to embrace challenge and change in the midst of an interim.
- May we value our deep roots in distinct and radical heritage of Baptist history.
- May we value broad and deep worship, inviting the mystery of a loving God.
- May we be continue to be fulfill our mission of following Jesus on the corner of Cherokee and Grinstead for years to come.