11:40 AM The rain stopped before the service so about 40 people joined me for the Pastor’s Stroll “Christian Heritage” tour of downtown Oak Park. We visited the site of “Temperance Hall,” the original First Methodist Church (home today of the Original Pancake House) whose members included John R. Mott and William E. Blackstone, both Blackstone homes in Oak Park, plus the Oak Park connections of Ernest Hemingway, Billy Sunday, D. L. Moody, the Christian Zionist movement, the story of “Jesus is Coming,” the Horse Show Fountain, Frank Lloyd Wright and the Unity Temple. We concluded with the story of Phillips Brooks, Trinity Church of Boston, the writing of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” the building of the First Presbyterian Church of Oak Park, and how it all connects to Calvary Memorial Church. The Turkey Trotters passed us by at one point and we cheered them on. At this moment I’m back home, the boys are watching TV and Marlene is basting the turkey and putting a glaze on the orange rolls. Family, food and football. A wonderful Thanksgiving day. This is why the Pilgrims came to America. 11:39 AM During the open sharing time, one child said she was thankful for her pet rats—and she named them one by one. Later her grandmother gave thanks for many things—including the fact that she didn’t have any pet rats. 11:33 AM Over 230 people gathered in the Dining Room for our Prayer and Praise service. So crowded we had to put down extra chairs. The 20/20 crew put together the continental breakfast. Carol Melton shared her testimony of being trapped in the stairwell during the fire in the Cook County Administration Building last month. When she thought she was about to die, she got on her knees and started to pray. “Even though I was saved, I just wanted to make sure.” After being rescued, she was hospitalized for smoke inhalation. This AM she spoke of how much she has learned about the power of prayer. 7:01 AM A few e-mails that arrived overnight: From Doug Watson in Glasgow, Scotland:
We (my wife and I) actually attended your Church a few years ago. I don’t know if you remember that I had mentioned to you that Horst and Rosie are my wife’s Uncle and Aunt. We still hold very fond memories of our time in Chicago especially our visit to Calvary. My wife commented that it was just like me to go to a Church where I already knew the Pastor through his books! I can’t help it if I read a lot now can I?
From Dorothy in Ohio:
I also am putting on the finishing touches to our Thanksgiving Day dinner tomorrow. Our service tonight in church was such a blessed one, with all the good singing by the congregation, choir numbers, baptism of ten people (mostly youth, praise God!), and many personal testimonies of praise to God for blessings given. God sure has been good to us at Parma Hts. Baptist Church!! We sure do have a lot to be thankful for.
From Brenda Smith in West Virginia:
Thank you for this sermon. I have prayed for people, invited them to church, and then been so puzzled as to why they were not as moved by the praise music and sermon as I was. They leave and have no inclination to come back, and I can’t wait for the next service! This sermon explained a lot to me. I won’t give up – I’ll keep praying, with new understanding, for my friends.
From Carolyn Kirschner in Jos, Nigeria:
Our Thanksgiving will be interesting. We are having some guests fresh from the US over for dinner, but I will be in surgery all day. I am thinking of how I can throw a chicken (no turkeys available here) together and bake a pumpkin pie.
6:59 AM Marlene woke up at 5:25 AM and said she needed to get the turkey ready for roasting. A few minutes later I heard her out in the kitchen puttering around. She says the brine worked well (it was a beer brine, if you’re interested in such things) and the flavor soaked into the meat. Sounds good to me.