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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Hole in the Roof

Anyone who's been watching this blog has undoubtedly noticed there's been a long gap with no new posts. My last post was in October, 2013, just days before I ended up in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism in each lung. Various complications ensued, which led to several hospitalizations and a rehab stay of well over than a month, all told. Then, I had a lengthy period of recuperation at home, during which I was on disability. I returned to my church and presbytery duties a few weeks before Easter.

It's been a whirlwind since then, catching up. My breathing still isn't back to 100%, but I continue to progress.

I thought I'd restart this blog with a couple of photos that have a story behind them.

The first one you'll see is an exterior shot of the Morning Star Presbyterian Church in Bayville. I've been involved with that church since its inception in the 1990s, supporting and encouraging the Rev. Myrlene Hamilton Hess and her late husband and co-pastor, the Rev. Ed Hamilton, as they went about the challenging work of church-planting.

I was honored when they asked me to preach at the congregation's chartering service, as Morning Star officially became a congregation. I preached a sermon called "A Hole in the Roof," in which I told the story of a church that kept an opening at the apex of their dome, as a symbol of the importance of staying open to new things the Holy Spirit may be doing in their midst.

I didn't think too much about that sermon until several years later, when I again attended a worship service at Morning Star for the dedication of their building. I was astonished when Myrlene told me the church had a cupola because of my sermon!

She explained how the concept of a hole in the roof had been an enduring theme in their congregational life. When it came time to design the building, they told the architect they wanted to keep a hole in the roof somehow. His suggestion was a cupola, providing borrowed natural light while still keeping the rain out.

The second photo is an interior shot of the church sanctuary, looking up towards the cupola.

I told Myrlene I'd seen all sorts of things happen as the result of sermons I've preached, but never before have I had a sermon result in architecture!

It was all very gratifying. We preachers don't often know much about how our sermons impact our listeners - especially Presbyterians, who can be a pretty reticent bunch at times.

How is it for the church you know best? Do you keep a hole in the roof, so you can remain open to the Lord's leading in mission?


  1. And that branch caused the aged tent covering to split wide open at the center...leaving me with a massive "skylight". modified bitumen

  2. I had a lengthy period of recuperation at home, during which I was on disability. I returned to my church and presbytery duties a few weeks before Easter.roof repair

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  4. Such an wonderful story. It's hard to read this and not think of Mark Chapter 2, wherein the will of the Lord was carried out through a similar opening to the sky. It's an important reminder for all of us that we need to remain willing to accept inspiration from above.

    Terence Warner @ Brunwin Roofing

  5. I'm sorry to hear about your lungs, but what a powerful story. It is great to hear how your sermon of keeping oneself open to God made such an effect on the congregation. That cupola has such powerful symbolism and I would feel very happy and warm about seeing how your message moved the congregation. Keep working hard!

    Pleasance Faast @ Shelton Roof