On Sunday August 10, 2008 an open house was given for the balcony archives.  Friends enjoyed cookies supplied by the Christian Fellowship Committee and browsed the collection of items, books, photos, and papers now being housed in the newly renovated and organized balcony.

Celebrating the Arts

August 10, 2008

Pam Ferguson

This month, Ron and I celebrate 10 years in Winchester. It seems almost impossible.  We’ve been here as long as Raymond and Georgia Breaker and longer than Keith and Judy Kendall.  And in the last 135 years, only Frank Cornell and Aaron and Inez Napier were pastors here longer than our time with you. 

 After 10 years, you’ve lived with us long enough to know our faults and passions, our quirks and qualities.  One thing I’m pretty sure you know is that I always have a project going.  Okay…..I usually have 3 or 4 projects going all the same time.  And unfortunately for many of you…..my projects often create lots of work for everyone else.

 The new project for this year has been heirloom tomatoes.  I’ve been reading that heirloom tomatoes are among the best tasting tomatoes you will ever eat.  The word heirloom suggests something that is passed down through a family, hauled in trunks across the plains, and something preserved reverently for the future.  When applied to tomatoes the word takes on a rainbow of colors, sweet flavors and great tasting fruit that was passed down from family to family and gardener to gardener.  I planted Brandywine tomatoes and Cherokee Purple tomatoes this year for two reasons.  One is that they were different, but more importantly, that they are known for their incredible flavor.  Personally, I like tomatoes……..so it is hard to imagine a tomato better than what we normally grow.  We shall see if these different colored, large beefsteak size tomatoes live up to their name.  And if they do…..my next project is to learn how to save their seeds.

 The thing I like about heirloom tomatoes is that their seeds can be saved and replanted each year.  In my growing concern for our planet and the mindless consumption of fossil fuels, in my concern about the food we eat, where is comes from and our ability to grow what we eat; providing a way to save and start my own seedlings seemed a prudent thing to learn.  With my own seeds, tomato plants can be planted in the compassion garden with a minimum of fossil fuel and little expense.  So….another project is born.

 Today after worship or after you attend Sunday School I would like to encourage all of you to travel to the balcony for some cookies.  In 2006 with the addition of the lift from the basement to the balcony, things changed up there.  Mangus Construction opened up the balcony to something beyond a storage place. It is a beautiful place to house archives and to spend some time in. Anne Riddle and Jon Fisher have worked hard at gathering and organizing thousands of pieces of paper and photographs.  They will soon be placed in notebooks and file cabinets for permanent storage.   

Since Ron and I arrived in Winchester I’ve been fascinated with the history of this faith community.  Quakers at the corner of East Washington and South East Street did not appear by accident; this meeting was planted and nurtured by many incredible people.  Elkanah and Irena Beard were the first and for Ron and I, they have a special place in this history of Winchester Friends.  And contrary to popular opinion, it is not because we look like them.  We sleep in their house every night, we sense how much they loved this faith community and we know how passionate they were about bringing Christ to this community.  We are blessed and thankful for the seeds they planted 135 years ago.

 While the archives may be just another project, they are also a place where we can save seeds, where we plant them for another generation and as they grow in our faith community and in the Winchester Community, they give us hope and vision for the work God has for us in this place in this time, and for generations to come.  I hope the archives will be heirlooms worth preserved reverently for the future. 

Please visit the balcony today.


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