Showing posts from January, 2021

"This Should Not Be Happening!"

Steve Nichols, photographer and producer, WAND News, recently led a group of volunteers in a clean-up project at Lake Decatur. He, along with several other "anglers," had noticed how much plastic and metal container debris was scattered around their favorite fishing holes. Several were complaining that the disregard for the local recreational environment was distressing and shocking. Nichols summarized the sentiments of many during an evening newscast as he made an appeal for change with this strong statement, "This should NOT be happening!" He encouraged all who enjoy fishing at the lake to take a trash bag with them to pick up after themselves and spend some time policing the area for other trash left behind. Ready for Recycling Bin! We have been recycling for several years now. It gives us a measure of consolation that the plastic, paper, aluminum and even the glass we generate can be reprocessed "to see another day of usefulness!" I'm happy to repo

Why Care About Neighbors?

  Logo Credit: Could the little town of Nokomis, Illinois, population 2126, be classified as a food desert? It may be soon if their only grocery store is shuttered. Although community leaders have lobbied Kroger, the Cincinnati-based national grocer, to reconsider, the plan is to close the store at the end of January. My heart goes out to these people. My mother was born and grew up in Nokomis. Over the years, I have enjoyed many visits with relatives living there. This closure is problematic because many of the community residents are senior adults who cannot drive the 15-30 miles to nearby groceries stores in Pana, Hillsboro or Vandalia. Meals on Wheels America research notes that 9.7 million seniors face varying degrees of food insecurity. I fear that many of these older adults live in rural communities like Nokomis. They are going to be left without their neighborhood grocers that were a familiar sight during my childhood years.  These small grocery stores dotted small

"There is Grace for This!"

  I learned last week that they are tearing down the old Greer Hospital in Vandalia that was built in 1925. This is where I was born in 1951. For the last years it has served as an annex and professional building adjacent  to the main hospital. This will "pave the way" (literally!) for a parking lot expansion on the property. I first heard of the demolition from my dad and then read around the subject in the local Vandalia paper online. Surprisingly, the news of this change left me feeling a little nostalgic and depressed. Especially when you consider that the house where my ninety-one year-old dad was birthed is still standing! That doesn't seem fair!  Mark Greer Hospital Demolition Photo Credit: Kevin Keppler About three years ago, I remember walking with my grand daughter Chloe from my sister's house near the hospital over to the annex after the Thanksgiving meal that day. I wanted to show her the humble setting of my beginnings and to retell the story passed to me

"Craving the Light!"

During this past Christmas season our church participated in an Advent study resourced by Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. Hamilton told a vivid story in his book,  Incarnation about how Resurrection sets up the annual Christmas Eve candlelight service. They turn down all the lights in the worship center and sit in absolute darkness for what seems like an uncomfortable amount of time. They are trying to demonstrate that "we cannot appreciate the light that Christ brings until we linger in the darkness for a moment" (p.121). "Crave the Light!" Image credit: Hamilton further describes the drama that builds in these moments of anticipation, "We sit there in the darkness... babies crying, children antsy, we sit there craving the light... then one candle enters the room" as a reader shares this scripture, "In the beginning was the Word... In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. T