I AM ACCUSTOMED…to swimming indoors. For several years, I regularly made way to the Wellness Center in Macon, Georgia. I would slip into the building, slip into my trunks and slip into a lane for the days yardage. Skylights and a windowed wall lit the pool area, but I was always aware I was swimming indoors. Traveling, I swam in a multitude of hotel pools. At times (but not often), I had the luxury of an Olympic-sized lap pool for my workout. Most times, I was monotonously meandering through three-stroke laps in a small kidney shaped pool with children splashing around me. (Swimming a mile in a pool that size is a true mental challenge!) I was delighted to enjoy my first swim in Greenville last week. I slipped into the Caine Halter YMCA, slipped into my trunks and slipped into a lane in an ‘outdoor’ pool! It was a treat to be able to swim with the sun shining on me and a breeze blowing across my back. They have both – an indoor and outdoor pool. What a blessing…

I AM ACCUSTOMED…to worshiping indoors. Every once in a while, I’ve found myself worshiping outdoors for Easter Sunrise or at a  retreat campfire. But usually I’m indoors. On October 5, however, we will have the opportunity to worship outside together. At 6:30 that evening, we will gather at the labyrinth for our first annual Blessing of the Pets Service. I’m hoping you will bring your dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, snakes, pot-bellied pigs, goldfish and whatever other critters you’ve chosen to keep and love. We’ll share a song, a couple of prayers, a brief sermon, and then I will offer an individual blessing for each of the animals present. This service is always a treat for our children and for the young at heart. It’s also the perfect time for you to invite a friend – particularly a pet owning, pet-loving friend – to visit FBC. This will be a wonderful time of worship…outdoors. Oh, and if it rains…yep, we’ll just take all the animals to the Sanctuary…and what a treat that will be! See you there….

Jim