Sunday, December 30, 2018, was Harlan's last day to conduct worship as Pastor of the First Reformed Church of Bethlehem in Selkirk. The church was filled...with laughter and tears, singing and stories--God's stories and our own, celebration and sadness, peace, hope, joy and love...there was "ENOUGH" ...

There was enough time to enter the quiet
enough company to taste communion
enough space to let me wander
enough light to see the bittersweet
enough stillness to hear the bird song
enough deadness to feel the loss
enough life to see the hope
enough mystery to feel the shadows
enough questions to make me wonder
enough memory to bring the tears
enough abundance to give me joy
enough desire to wait
enough longing to stay
enough love to

After eighteen years of having the pleasure of dwelling on this sacred land, with its bountiful gardens, trees, creatures and community, we humbly say "Thank you, thank you, thank you. And so, Amen!
(special thanks to son-in-law, Paul Richardson, for the photos!)

- Ellen Ratmeyer

Reflection  from  Diane  ...

I’ve been reflecting with gratitude on my recent successful cardiac ablation and something that keeps coming to my mind. 


The medical staff, training, technology, professionalism is pretty incredible.  I am suited up in those lovely green socks and hospital gown.  My young, tall, pretty, friendly nurse, Julia, gets me ready with IV, EKG, asking me questions, and providing general information with an assurance that she will be “right next to me the entire time.”  I am wheeled into an enormous OR suite with more machinery than I have never seen before.  There are techs in the room buzzing around and Julia and another nurse start working at breakneck speed hooking me up to monitors, putting on leads, etc.  Julia says sedatives will begin soon and then …. Black.


The cardiologist has been at this for what I’m told was an hour and we have reached the definitive moment; he has located the defective area in my heart and is ready to cauterize it.  I’ve been put into SVT (rapid heart rate) for this part of the procedure.  Sedatives are easing off, the SVT is a miserable feeling, and I’m regaining consciousness ever so slightly.  I make a little moaning noise.  And here is what I recall more than anything … I feel a soft, cool, comforting hand placed on my forehead.  It is so amazingly calming and reassuring and I drift back to sleep. 


I  marvel at the ingenuity and advancement of technology, the staff’s commitment to years of medical training and experience, who efficiently do this as part of a routine work day.  It’s really something and there's a lot happening in this OR.  But Julia’s hand on my forehead ... That’s what I remember.


So the bible lesson in my cardiac adventure is this.  Hands!  We know that God is in control and His hand guides everything.  But what can we offer those who suffer and face challenges?  Can we make a difference while God does his work?  Of course.  We have hands that can call, text, e-mail an encouraging messaging, hands to cook a meal, pat a shoulder, pick up a pen to write a card.  Sunday guests are blessed with hands that play a keyboard, hold a choir folder, hand out a bulletin with a smile.  And certainly not least, we have hands that fold in prayer.  Perhaps, like Julia, our smallest gestures of kindness make the biggest impact.  


Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might … (Ecclesiastes 9:10)


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart … (Colossians 3:23)

Diane Kempf

April 1, 2019

38 Church Road

Selkirk, New York