It started in 2012 with a simple phone call—an offer to help with Christmas services. It was a ray of hope when only general chaos ruled my mind, trying to figure out a schedule to get to as many churches as possible as close to Christmas Day on the Cheyenne River Reservation. Not an easy thing to do with ten eager congregations and many rivers to cross.
The generous call came from Mother Mercy and Father David at Trinity, Pierre. So, I chose the congregation closest to them, St. Andrew’s, Cherry Creek. St. Andrew’s is a young and lively congregation, where adults are usually outnumbered by children three-to-one and a crowd of fifty or more gather around a wood stove in a 15’x30’ cement block building. The old Victorian-era frame church burned down long ago, and yet the congregation has continued to meet in the 1940s cook house/guild hall that continues to serve not only as a church, but as a community meeting place, despite the lack of water and an easy source of heat.
The day after Christmas, I received another phone call from Mercy and David, full of gratitude—one of the best Christmas’s ever, they said. Please ask us to go back there!
And I know what they mean. So I did! The energy and enthusiasm of the people of St. Andrews, to gather and pray and celebrate our life in Christ, is an on-going gift and blessing to all who have ever been there. And in the next year and the years since then, the good people of Trinity, Pierre have responded to the call by Mother Mercy to share in that joy by sending Christmas gifts across the Missouri and the Cheyenne to the confluence at Cherry Creek—to the folks who gather at St. Andrew’s to celebrate and pray. (This year, there were so many gifts, I could not carry them all in my little wanna-be-car… not even by putting my husband and dogs all in one seat! I am grateful to Marlys and the Diocese for bringing the remainder up in that busy time just before Christmas!)
And it is a good thing. A holy thing. An act full of tinsel and wrapping paper and light and generosity and joy.
(And who knows—maybe one dark and cold Christmas night, all the good people of Trinity will turn off their lights, leave maps at the door, and make the journey to celebrate the Incarnation of Our Lord face to face (incarnationally!) with those who are gathering around the wood stove alongside the small frozen creek in a now-not-so-forgotten place. I have heard the old stories of folks traveling by horse and cart to that same place, camping out in the snow, eating, laughing, celebrating for days on end, sharing in the true gifts of the Spirit.) So, come! Come, taste and see! The Lord is good! All are welcome to the Supper of Our Lord!
To the good people of God in Trinity, Pierre—from the good people of God in St. Andrew’s, Cherry Creek… THANK YOU! God bless you!