Festival part 2...

It's festival plus two today and the inside clean up gets underway.

Usually on the evening of the festival itself all the things that need to be returned to the church are put in the basement and left, unsorted, for a few days while people recover. A day in the hot sun wrings everyone dry and any kind of ambition has been long poured out on the festival. Have dealt with the public and each other for eight plus grueling hours we gather up everything we can to take away, turn on the fire house to wash the grounds, and scatter home.

One of the interesting things about a festival is how much it reveals about the character of the people in a parish. When the crowds are big, the lines long, and a group of people are in a hot kitchen together trying to make it all work you quickly discover the nature of the person passing you rice, and yourself. Whatever else one could say about St. Elias her people, for the most part, can bind together, work hard, and willingly assume tasks with a minimum of complaint. Visitors from other Orthodox parishes were astonished at how efficiently and thoroughly our small parish approached the event and one visitor, comparing parishes, said "These folks at St. Elias have just kicked our $@#." I'll take that as a compliment.

It was good, as well, to have a decent group of people from our sister parish up the river, St. George. They came down seeking to help and learn how to hold a festival but at the same time they got to know us as well. The people of St. Elias needed to see they're not alone, and the people of St. George need to know there's a little church down the river they can pray for and visit if they so choose. There have always been family ties between the two churches but my hope is that there will also be ties of the heart that come from our working together.

The numbers aren't in yet, they matter but then again in a certain sense they don't. We banded together, we worked hard, we gave of ourselves for something greater and opened ourselves to the community. Yes, it would be good to make money from it all and we could sure use it but at the same time I hope it reminds us, again, of the possibilities in many parts of our life as a parish if we put that same spirit and effort to the other tasks that lie ahead for St. Elias.

We'll see, but right now I think I'll just stay in the shade for a few days.

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