Throughout July, August, and much of September 2019, I was preparing for sale the home in Troy where I have lived for 19 years. Needing to cull much of what I accumulated during 28 years of ordained ministry and 75 years of life, I wanted to undertake the project in a manner consistent with my Christian values and as attentive as possible to God’s call to be a good steward of the gift of the created order in all its beauty and variety. Rather than simply discarding things I no longer need or use, I donated as much as possible for re-use and found ways to recycle a great deal. In so doing, I became familiar with non-profit organizations and groups I had not previously encountered and with the good work they do. Downsizing became a form of spiritual discipline, allowing me to grasp in some small measure the experience of our early Christian forbears who, according to Acts 2:45, “would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.”
Offered in a spirit of collegiality and humility, here is a sample of what I learned.
- If you have outdated video-cassettes, CDs, and/or DVDs, for example, those promoting denominational special offerings, VBS curricula, Christian education studies, etc., Green Disk, which is based in Dayton, Ohio, (www.greendisk.com) will recycle them. There are costs involved: purchasing a box from the postal service, securing the necessary label from Green Disk, and paying a shipping charge, but the environmental benefit is well worth the expense.
- If you have academic theology books, Hebrew and Greek linguistic resources, cross-cultural studies, ethics books, and/or church history books that you no longer use, the Theological Book Network (www.tbn.org) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will receive, sort, supply a receipt for, and ship them to religious educational institutions in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. There are costs to send the books to Grand Rapids, but the U.S.P.S. media rate is quite reasonable and, again, the environmental benefit is significant. It is also a wonderful way to support theological education across the globe.
Within the next month or so, I will relocate to Asheville, North Carolina, to be in closer proximity to my 18-month-old granddaughter and her parents. I am grateful to God for opportunities I continue to have to learn and grow in faith, and I am grateful to each and all of you for the privilege of sharing with you in the work and worship of Albany Presbytery for almost two decades. I will miss the collegiality and mutual respect which has characterized even our most contentious seasons of life together and the friendships that have blossomed among us. I pray God’s richest blessing upon your ministries and upon Albany Presbytery’s continued witness to the love and justice of Jesus, the Christ, our risen Savior.