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‘Sharing Stories of Hope’ is theme for Lenten stories

“Sharing Stories of Hope (The Hopeful and the Hopeless)” is the theme for the PNC’s Lenten Story Sharing on the PNC-UCC Conference Facebook Page.

The scripture reference to inspire stories is: “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2b) .

As Courtney Stange-Tregear, minister of church vitality, listened around the conference the first months of 2022, hope was an ongoing theme.

“Hope for glimmers of change, hope for what might come, hope as an antidote to despair. Some of us are feeling full of hope. Some of us are looking, yearning, eager for hope. Some of us are deep in hopelessness. Still some—most?—of us feel all of these ways depending on the day. Sometimes we feel all these ways in the same day,” said Courtney.

With Lent being a time of reflection and preparation, she invited people again to share testimonial stories with one another as a Lenten practice. The theme is “Sharing Stories of Hope.”

“I noticed that when one person shares their feelings of hopefulness it often makes others feel a bit more hopeful themselves. I hope that this series will include stories about hope to inspire hope in others,” she said, inviting PNC folks to share a story of a time they felt hopeful, or where they saw hope incarnated in the world.

“It is important to share these glimmers of hope when we see them. The hope of one person can fan the flames of hope in another,” Courtney said. “Hope is contagious. Sometimes the hope of others is just enough to get us through our own lack of hope.”

Aware that not everyone feels connected to any stories of hope these days, she clarified that more important than sharing stories of hope “is simply sharing yourself, sharing an authentic story that comes from you.”

She noted it might be a story about hope, may be about struggling with hope or may be about feeling hopeless.

“No matter what, you, the real you, are welcome here,” Courtney said, reminding that in the UCC we say, “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you know you are welcome here”—with or without hope.

She invited people to share their stories and read the stories of others. 

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Story of snow angels starts the theme of hope

"Angels All Around"

Story of snow angels is a story of hope

My senior year of college, there was a huge blizzard that covered Annapolis in about three feet of snow. Maryland Avenue, where I lived in my tiny basement apartment, wasn’t plowed for several days. 

Before long there was a walking path through the middle of the street made by previous walkers tramping down the snow. 

It was January, and Senior Essay writing season. The beginning of the process of thesis writing and defense required for graduation. A full month is dedicated only to this. No pressure. 

One night, feeling frustrated and hopeless, my roommate and I left our apartment, and walked down the path in the middle of the street. We made our way to the pub for some comfort food and a couple of pints. 

Time away from my paper, a warm cottage pie, and encouraging words from my roommate, had me leaving the pub feeling the tiniest hints of hope. Or almost hope.

I was still certain I was doomed, but I figured maybe that wasn’t so bad. Besides, the snow was beautiful. 

Leaving the pub, walking home along the narrow foot path, surrounded by high walls of snow on either side, I started to feel just a little lighter.

Maybe I could get through this, maybe. I suddenly flopped myself down in the soft snow. I lay in there, looking up at the starry sky, and started waving my arms. Willing an angel to appear in the snow. An angel surrounding my paper wouldn’t hurt either. 

Years later, at a UCC event, I met a clergy person who had also lived in Annapolis during college.

We reminisced about what it was like there then. He even remembered the same snow storm! The days of unplowed streets. Turns out he lived just past the end of Maryland Ave. Such coincidences! 

Then he told me the story of how one night, during that snowy time, he was walking home and he saw a snow angel along the path.

He remarked that it brought him a bit of joy and a tiny glimmer of hope, in what had been a hard time for him. He still remembered that snow angel all these years later. 

Prayer: Thank you for putting people and places and angels in our path to give us hope when we feel that we have none of our own.

-Rev. Courtney Stange-Tregear

Pacific NW Conference United Church News - © April 2022


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