Conversation thread between Phil Higgs, Stephanie Sawyer,  Diane Nagy, Tom Deliganis, Steve Plummer, George Mims on Sunday 20 March 2011

Hi All:
This is Phil Higgs writing. Carol added me in and I removed myself from the FB group after reading the first few weeks of postings. The reason I removed myself was because most of the comments I disliked or bored me or I was just plain angry. Much of it nostalgic and lovey dovey about a past life and with warm fuzzy feelings. 

Don't get me wrong, I am sincerely grateful for my time on Cumbrae, at Post Green and Aliquippa. I would not be the person I am now without that experience. I have many wonderful memories and great life-long friends. So remember Ok, re-live ? No thanks. 

Celebrate the whole of it was also about the negative and broken, the sorrow and the pain. It was about sharing with the poor; protesting the building of a nuclear power station outside Edinburgh (Rather topical don't you think?) It was also about being stuck in the shit of life - literally for those of us who dug up the North College drains or cleared out the chicken coups. My recollection is that Celebration was always about having your feet on the ground.

So, Stephanie Sawyer, I don't know you, but thank you, you spoke a truth. it is also true to say that there are still a few souls out there who came into contact with us one way or another who are still broken and/or in pain.

In my usual un-reverent way, and to keep things real or at least make you smile, I'd like to add a Monty Python version of a beloved children's hymn

All things dull and ugly All creatures short and squat,
All things rude and nasty The Lord God made the lot.

Each little snake that poisons, Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom. He made their horrid wings.

All things sick and cancerous, All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous, The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet, Each beastly little squid--
Who made the spikey urchin? Who made the sharks? He did!

All things scabbed and ulcerous, All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous, The Lord God made them all.


Stephanie S Sawyer Carol: Thank you so much for writing. I appreciate your comments and espeicailly the realistic nature of them. I have been bold in attempting to state that not all was lovey dovey as you state..I term I use as well. I have been muted inside for years, and was in pure agony yesterday as all this came pouring up. While the worship and the gifts were like no other, and the talent pulled together was awesome, the thought that ran through my head yesterday was "We need a Redeemer Recovery Group!"

Diane Nagy This has given me a little bit of release, which I didn't think I needed. But obviously it came bubbling up when I started reading of others' experiences. Again, I believe the intentions were good and the concept was good; but as in a lot of plans, as new people came in and decided they too wanted to be a part of the leadership in households, there was no screening or follow-up process. Probably because so many needy souls came for help and it was sometimes overwhelming. If you landed in a perfect place for you, that was great. If you didn't, not so great. Maybe some didn't need to come at all. Whatever the case, we pray for God's healing of the pain, and the nuggets of the good and holy be then brought to light.

Stephanie S Sawyer Phil: I apologize for misdirecting my comments to Carol. I was writing before my first cup of coffee! ACH!.... But the heart of the letter went straight to me, and I believe there are more of us that are now able to speak out due to this forum (thank you, Bob), and that is a very healthy thing. Owning the Whole Truth is what is healthy, not just the pretty parts. We can then learn by reflection and gain wisdom through those experiences.

Elaine Carr Thanks much, Phil, for the levity. As someone who is frightened by strong emotions -- my own as much as anyone else's -- I have found this FaceBook forum a safe place for embracing and acknowledging the good and the bad. Being able to laugh at the Monty Python verse helps make embracing my own more negative strong emotions easier. This forum also makes it easier to allow others to express their strong emotions without feeling like I have to withdraw and protect myself from them or them from me. And I smile with real enjoyment.

Tom Deliganis 

There were certainly many negative experiences and some were devastating. I am grateful that I am now able to laugh about most of them and cringe about a only a few. Life is better because of all of them. As a father and a long time youthpastor, I often wonder why we seem so incompetent at translating our experiences bad and good to the next generation. They seem destined to repeat the same mistakes while completely ignoring short-cuts to happiness we have acquired and are desperate to guide them toward. I suppose its necessary for each of us to find our own way.

Elaine Carr Tom, Complexity Theory says that while patterns repeat themselves, they are a little different each time. So I picture it as a spiral (hopefully, a spiral up) with each generation repeating the pattern but slightly differently. While I see some of my parents' mistakes in myself and each of my siblings, they are different and have ultimately led to different, sometimes more positive results for my generation. Hopefully, it will be true for each generation so that they are moving forward.

Lucy Cook Deliganis 

At some point I would like to share my story or memory on here or in an appropriate note and it would not be for the purpose of reliving a past memory. It would be because it is a testimony of God goodness and mercy to me. Redeemer is the place where Jesus chose to make Himself known to me I would say supernaturally the first Sunday I was there in 1977 through someone serving the wine in a white robe. I don't remember his face, but a river of pure love (Jesus' love) came through his eyes and touched my hard heart. I don't desire to go back but I am eternally grateful to the Lord and because of the amazing way He delivered me I know now with people that I encounter that are lost, broken, oppressed -He can do it again. I get a little hesitant because I don't want to bore people but sometimes the retelling of a story or a memory may only mean something to one person whether good or bad. It's why I think this group is so perfectly named -
Celebrate the Whole of It and when Betty said it was a "God-thing". For me it was.

Marie Schlink Phil, Speaking of memories. good and bad, I will never forget the time that someone poured the"fish head soup" down the drain,,,I wonder who it was? I was soooo thankful! "lol" I am reminded of the verse, "Everything works together for good..

Steven Plummer 
Phil, I love this, and want you to know that I really cherish the time we lived together in Aliquippa. Remember how on "payday" we would buy a case of the cheapest beer we could, and I still have a photo that we processed in the basement darkroom of our rowhouse.

The best to you, as you always and forever will give all you have. My love to dear Carol.
George Ellis Mims 
Phil, scripture says " our righteousness is as filthy rags." Except for the grace of God there go we. What man meant for evil, God meant for good. The devil is a fallen angel. Tom Lees on more than one occasion suggested that you all were being put through the crucifixion in the UK community. The amazing thing about it all was what I experienced as a visitor maybe some eight years in January. You all were creating incredible events of worship and work for all around you and the fruit of it was obvious in every way to me and truthfully thrilling to behold. God is blessed and I pray that with you we can all see His most holy presence in the dark hours as well as the hours of light.

back to Writer index 2011. Click site map to navigate
Privacy Policy. (Hosting & Design are donated by Bob Andrew)
Content is provided by former members of Celebration or Redeemer
Some B&W photos (where noted) are Community of Celebration

Annual panorama photos are Church of the Redeemer, Houston