Diary of a mad homeowner

The trials and tribulations of fixing up a house filled with character but not much else


Music. Lights.

There’s a great church near the Bar B and each year they put up a display of Christmas lights set to music. Turn your car radio to 97.7 and watch the performance.

Conifer Community Church is a staple in Conifer and its pastor, Lance Swearingen leads a congregation that draws people from all around.

I interviewed Lance when he first came to Conifer in 2010 in an article titled: Warm Welcome and I was impressed by his faith, humanity and dedication to the community.

I worked a lot with community churches covering stories of change, hope, redemption, tragedy, joy and celebration.

In all that time, not one single pastor or priest asked if I’d be interested in learning more about their faith but allowed me to enjoy immersion in their projects.

CCC has been my favorite, right along with St. Laurence Episcopal Church located right next door. Both churches come together to support the community with everything from physical to spiritual needs.

My favorite CCC events were the Mountain Rose Acoustic Society, Trivia night and the Passover Seder.

Embracing all faiths is a hallmark of CCC and the shared message is one of love, tolerance and faith.

I was lucky to grow in a gentle church, the First Congregational Church in Bellevue, Washington that my mother attended. It was fun and inviting and non-confrontational. We learned traditional Christmas carols such as “Angels We Have Heard on High” and sewed banners and learned spiritual lessons via flannel boards. In the basement fellowship hall, they held Greek dancing lessons. Easter Sunday was a true celebration and there was always grape juice and cookies after service. The library was full of excellent books and the pastor spent time after service engaged in conversation and all were embraced. I was baptized in that church in 1968 and the pastor’s wife is my godmother.

Subsequent churches I’ve attended never could leap the bar set by that church.

My friends were all Mormon and I tagged along on their exploits and at one point joined but left quickly because it was less about faith and more about dogma.

In 1975 a friend in high school was part of a contest through Sheridan Baptist Church to see how many people they could bring to a Monday evening service. We were all friends and weren’t scared of church what with everyone in our group being Catholic, Lutheran or Episcopal and we accepted people where we found them. The pastor or whatever they’re called began his attack right out of the gate calling girls who wore pants were whores and boys who didn’t service in the church were consummate evil. We booked out of that church and never went back. Our friendship soon ended because we wondered just how much of that bullshit he believed. When pressed for an answer, he couldn’t provide one.

The Vineyard in Arvada was a great place with outstanding music and powerful messages from a dynamic pastor. CCC is probably the closest to my wholly positive experience with First Congregational.

I ended in Light and Sound teachings of MasterPath and have been happy there. Being a chela of Sri Gary Olsen doesn’t restrict my appreciation of churches that reach out to people where they are and feed their soul with music, love and laughter.

I don’t really celebrate Christmas. My family, we celebrate something, we celebrate our family and it involves gifts, Christmas cookie decorating, abundant dinners. You couldn’t get them to admit it but it’s all about generosity and creativity, love and acceptance. We’re flexible about when we do Christmas, it’s OK if it’s not ON Christmas Day.

Music is big at CCC and this year’s Christmas lights display is another offering. The lights start each evening at 5 p.m. and shut off 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It’s the same tunes as last year but that’s OK. It’s an eclectic selection of classic music to The Chipmunks.

It’s a welcome respite to stop for a few moments and watch the lights and listen to the music. Even if it is snowing.

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