Again this year, I have watched the debates rage of what phrases we should use when greeting each other this time of year. It is interesting that folks enter the debate from so many different perspectives with some worried about political correctness, some worried about theological implications, some worried about the social aspect.
I worried briefly about what to post on the site–until I remembered that I’m the Communications Director. That means whatever greeting is offered can be a simple communications issue. So please understand, the headline and photo are not a political, theological, or social commentary. The reality is there are at least two holidays approaching–Christmas and New Year’s Day. Therefore, it would seem wishing site visitors “happy holidays” is fairly accurate from a communications perspective.
And it doesn’t mean you can’t have a “Merry Christmas” (or some version of it). There are no hidden agendas or meanings. Well, maybe there is one.
Of late, as a society we are placing an extremely high value on diversity–one reason the “Happy Holidays” greeting is gaining in popularity. But when we obsess on encouraging diversity we omit half of the formula. Diversity requires tolerance.
A seasonal example might be found in snowflakes. Supposedly there are no two alike–how’s that for diversity? When they bond together they create beauty and, in some cases, inconvenience and danger. But they don’t fight about it. There aren’t “bad” snowflakes and “good” snowflakes. There are just snowflakes. What can we learn from those snowflakes? What can we accomplish when we bond together in spite of our differences?
Perhaps the hidden meaning in this wish is that you enjoy the diversity and experience the tolerance. We are, after all, just people trying to make our way through life as happily (or merrily) as possible. Enjoy the trip!
While our Grange year is well underway, we are about to start a new calendar year. I’m not the sort who makes New Year’s Resolutions, but I do like to give some thought to what my priorities are for the upcoming year. Let me share with you what I see some of the priorities are for communication and the website.
One overriding bias I have is that we remember we are at our best as a grassroots organization. State-level activities and programs will never be a substitute for an exciting local Grange. To that end, I see the communications and website function as one of service to our community Grange. What is needed in today’s society is not more “big” organizations. While technology makes it possible for global relationships, there is a profound opportunity for local connections.
I recently fielded a comment addressed to the webmaster of the Valley Grange website. It came from a single Mom who had recently moved to our area and she was struggling to provide a good Christmas for her three boys. I was able to provide some local connections that will give her the help she needs. And I followed up to make sure she’d made those connections.
We might find it interesting that she reached out to Valley Grange—she didn’t “Google” or use Facebook to announce her plight. The resources I introduced her to have a strong Internet presence and truly should not be that hard to locate. I believe she demonstrates the value of a strong Grange presence in the local community. Not only are people more comfortable with local contacts, local Granges and local Grangers can do things we at that State Level have no hope of achieving. With that as background, my priority is to help local Granges become an exciting Grange filled with exciting Grangers.
What are your Grange’s priorities?
At a recent meeting of Androscoggin Pomona Grange members gathered for a their annual Christmas Program. Members were also asked to bring a wrapped toy for the Hope Haven Gospel Mission in Lewiston. During the program a fun selection of humorous holiday readings were read by the members and traditional Christmas songs were sung. Pianist Louise Roberts won the attendance drawing. Members have all year been doing the “It’s in the Bag” Fundraiser and turned in their funds at this meeting. Anyone who forgot to bring their “It’s in the Bag” project can turn them into at the next meeting which will be on January 7 at Danville Junction Grange. There will be 6:30 pm supper and a 7:30 pm meeting, the program will be Lecturer’s Choice.
By Glenys Ryder
On Thursday evening, December 12, twenty-five members of Danville Junction Grange #65 braved the snow and ice to venture out, bearing gifts for the Salvation Army. The table was laden down with books, toys, and games of all kinds! There were even knit hats and mittens! Pictured are Lillian, Gabby, Envoy Holly Johnson, and Community Service Chair Glenys Ryder.
Lecturer Thelma Quimby presented an interesting and entertaining Christmas program in which many of the members participated. Louise Roberts of Excelsior Grange was our pianist for the evening.
Following the program were delicious refreshments served by Joyce MacDonald and Marilyn Redmun.
It was a wonderful evening, and members were glad that they had ventured out in the storm!
Following our annual Fellowship Breakfast, our Christmas Program at Valley Grange gave all attendees an opportunity to reminisce and share a particularly meaningful gift received or given. There were tears and laughs… and Roger offered to close with a poem he’d written, challenging us to see if we could guess who the visitor described might be… We’ll think you’ll enjoy this description of Roger’s memory of a visit many years ago by then Deputy Guy Ellms of South Sangerville Grange.
The National Grange Store will re-open on Friday, January 2nd. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Sales, Benefits, and Programs Director at sjohnsonnationalgrangeorg (sjohnsonnationalgrangeorg) .
I just posted an incredible event to the calendar… and had lots of trouble figuring out how to categorize it! St George Grange located at Wiley’s Corner, St. George, Knox County is going to be the place to be on Saturday, December 6, 2014!
The day begins with a their Thirty-Third Annual Christmas Fair. How’s that for some longevity! The Fair includes homemade pickles, preserves, fudge, baked goods, soups, hot dogs, biscuits, Carol’s famous Nissua Bread, muffins & cinnamon rolls… along with many local crafters.
Not only is this going to be a great opportunity for gift shopping, they are also hosting the St. George School students Annual Christmas Tree and wreath sale..
Don’t worry about getting hungry–lunch will be available!
But wait! There’s more! A live Nativity Performance at 4:30 pm will remind folks of the true meaning of Christmas.
Don’t leave yet! There will be a public supper at 5 PM–adults $8 and kids $5, but under ten eat free!
This sure sounds like a fun family day! And it’s a great example of the kind of event that will draw folks to the hall and put St George Grange on the map and on the minds of the community. It might be called “thinking big,” and why not?! You can bet there will be some tired Grangers at the end of the day, but they’ll be “happy tired” and enjoy what they accomplished by working together!
Due to the 148th National Grange Convention, the Grange Store will be closed
November 3rd – November 18th
If you need to place an order, please do it before this deadline.
The National Grange Store will re-open on Wednesday, November 19th. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Sales, Benefits, and Programs Director at sjohnsonnationalgrangeorg (sjohnsonnationalgrangeorg) .
A Christmas Thought…
“Above all, remember that amid all that is bright and beautiful in Nature there is nothing which blooms with such unfading colors–there is no perfume on earth fraught with such fragrance–as the flowers of good works and the sweet-smelling savor of that pity which feels for the wants and relieves the distress of our Sisters and our Brothers.”
Flora’s charge, second degree