Thursday, July 07, 2016

Mount Pleasant Community Church, Oregon

The Mount Pleasant Community Church

If you are looking for a traditional Christian American "early church" experience, and you are in the Salem, Oregon area, look no further than the Mount Pleasant Community Church. Sound biblical preaching from Pastor Richard Neely is proclaimed at a simple rustic pulpit in the most charming little church. Founded in 1854 the pews hold just forty worshipers, and the aisle has the original bare wooden floor with a runner woven from soldiers uniforms. Standing the test of time it is the oldest building of its kind and was the subject of an article by in the Statesman's Journal.
Sunday service at 10.00 a.m.
Call (503) 859-4457

Directions to Mount Pleasant Community Church
Where it is!

Listen for a moment to the congregation singing the old Scottish hymn "Abide With Me"

 Congregation Singing "Abide With Me"

Pastor Richard Neely

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pulling Together - A rowing tale

Pulling Together On The River - Neil McLeod

I used to row at Guy's Hospital in the early 70's, and the premature demise of a colleague and fellow member of the Beverly Hills Academy of Dentistry, who rowed for Cornell, caused me to reflect on his exemplary life and what it takes to be a good oarsman.

Pulling Together
for Eric Loberg
Guy's Hospital Rowing Club

There’s flashing of oars in the water 
When the sunlight shines back off each blade, 
And the image below is reflected
As a perfect picture is made.

Watchers on shore at the bank-side
Repine and in their hearts say,
In a lost misty-eyed contemplation,
“Oh, I’ll be an oarsman one day!”

We are all going down to the boathouse,
We cannot be turning up late
Together we’ll reach in and toss the shell
We don’t want to make others wait.

We’ll walk the shell down to the dockside,
Step to and lower it with care
Gently down into the water,
For that we need every one there.

Commitment is needed to be in a crew,
To bend your back to the oar,
To lean in time and draw it through
When the coxswain’s demanding more. 

Control is essential to follow the stroke,
To feather your blade on return,
Then do it again and again and again,
When a smile is all you will earn.

It takes grit to turn up at the dockside
On a day when you’re facing a race,
Giving your all when the flag goes down
Responding, (if beaten), with grace.

But the art is to love being part of a team,
Pulling together in time,
When muscles and sinews comply with your will
In tune with the rhythm and rhyme.

There’s flashing of oars in the water 
When the sunlight shines back off each blade, 
So rejoice in the feat of a race well run
And the perfect picture it made. 

As the blades feather out at the surface
The water just closes again,
Like the life of a loved one vanished away
Only ripples and memories remain.

Eric Loberg
Dr. Eric Lewis Loberg, 69, passed away March 15, 2016, at UCLA Medical Center following complications from lymphoma. He was a longtime resident of Westwood, and an avid Bruin fan. A past president of Westwood Village Rotary Club, Dr. Loberg was also an eight-time US National Rowing Champion and seven-time Canadian National Rowing Champion. As he used to say, "I'm just a simple country boy from upstate New York trying to make it here in Tinseltown."

Monday, April 04, 2016

Ashes To Ashes - loosing a child

Our friends the Ramseyers lost their son A.J. two weeks ago. Knowing the reason for this loss is not as important as understanding the immense loss.  I was asked to contribute a poem to be included in the celebration of his life which was held on Saturday 2nd. April at the Lutheran Church on Colorado in Glendale.  I have included it below. A J was my son Oliver's age. One can only imagine the depth of their sorrow:

AJ Ramseyer and Oliver Murdoch McLeod

 It Takes A Lot Of Time

For Al and Francyne Ramseyer

It takes a lot of time until a broken heart’s restored,
A lot of love and patience ’till the pieces are secured,
And even when you think you’ve left the aching far behind
A sight, or sound or smell will bring it welling in your mind.

There are an awful lot of things that cause a heart to ache,
Dashed hopes, lost love, and then of course, words you can’t retake,
But as you view the range of sorrows that can not be undone,
There’s nothing quite so sad as losing your own daughter or son.

You’ve spent time with your children, you’ve nurtured them for years,
You hugged them tight’ when they were hurt, and kissed away their tears;
Watched them grow and come of age, pursue a worthy goal
Though one thing never on the list was giving up their soul.

Around the house you will of course have treasures that you store
That ’mind you of the golden times when they were three or four,
Or older, yes, the paintings and the little things they made,
You keep them so the memory of sweet times never fade.

It takes a lot of time until a broken heart’s restored,
A lot of love and patience till the pieces are secured,
But gradually you’ll notice as it slowly starts to mend
That you have a host of precious memories with you ’till the end.

This poem will be published  in a new anthology which is called "Another Cuppa" and will be available with the other writings of Neil Stewart McLeod on Amazon

Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Pallbearers - Burying Marje

Marjorie Neely (May 3, 1925 - February 24, 2016) was laid to rest on Thursday March 3rd. Her grandsons, Roderick McLeod, David Neely, Corin and Jason Fator, and her great grandsons Calvin Jackson and Tristen Coulter lent to the bar and bore her casket to the grave side. The small private service at the Monument Hill Memorial Park in Woodland, California, was attended by nearly fifty family members, and her legacy of caring prayer-filled love will be long remembered and sorely missed.

Following the interment a reception was hosted by Life Pointe Church in Woodland

Following Marje

If you ever received a letter or note,
Or a neat birthday card, small or large,
In a clear written script 
with love crammed in it,
I reckon you got it from Marje.

If you in the face of troubles and strife
Had a prayer warrior leading the charge
Imploring God’s Peace
for a cousin or niece,
I’m convinced that it was our Marje.

If you needed shelter and some where to stay
A shield of protection, a targe,
There’re many can tell
who know it well
They found that refuge with Marje.

The example’s been given and we in our turn
Should add the task to our charge,
To care for each other  
Each sister and brother
Each father and mother, like Marje

But now it is done, the race has been run
Her faithfulness gives us our cue,
To remember and pray 
For each other each day
Being mindful as Marje used to do. 

Monday, February 08, 2016

The Boy With The Thorn - a Bronze

At the Getty Museum there was an excellent exhibition of ancient bronzes, all stunning. Amongst the athletes and the gods there was this exquisite piece. It ached for a poem.

The Boy With A Thorn

There are not many of them now,
Though vacant plinths abound,
Amongst the great antiquities
Where often they were found,
Depicting famous athletes
Who earned laurels at the games,
Or gods and heros, caesars, kings
With long impressive names.

The artisans who made them
Of copper mixed with tin,
Could flow the molten alloy round
So it was light and thin,
Yet strong enough to bear the weight
Of arms and legs in stride,
And at their best they long remain
The Greco-Roman pride.

Each one a distillation
Of God’s gifts manifest,
Capturing that inspiration-
Firing them to do their best,
Preserving for these ages long,
Should plunderers have missed their mark,
A glimpse of era’s far advance
That would but otherwise be dark.
There he sits, a boy absorbed,
Intent to find the sole-lodged thorn,
Cast in bronze he heeds us not
’Till from his foot the barb is drawn.
Head downward cast his gaze is firm,
Fingers set to pry the spine,
His youthfulness forever caught,
Never dulled with passing time.

Thin their ranks of beauty cast
Despoiled by barbarous lowly eye,
How could they dash and splinter thus 
The richest proof of days gone by.
How could the call of cannon or gate
Result in smelting of these forms
Yet this remaining tells so much
And history’s pages thus adorns

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What A Haggis

Celebrating Robert Burns’ Birthday

For the fifth year Nancy I were invited to attend the Cal Tech Athenaeum Club to participate in their Burns Night. Truly it is a premier event in the best traditions, piper, haggis, poetry and song with a fervent audience in a venue of unsurpassed beauty. Chef Kevin Isacsson simply continues to out do himself in his attention to detail.

This year our piper was one of John McLean Allan’s pupils, Megan Kenney. Suffice it to say, she dismissed her duties in fine style.

The stately nature of the venue was enjoyed by us both. We were able to sit ensconced by the Scottish Fiddlers as the guests arrived.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Roi’s Tale - The Visitors

Here is a new Christmas poem I have written for our Sojourners Fellowship Group

A Shepherds Christmas
Luke 2:   Matthew 2:

It was a chilly evening, we were gathered round the fire,
A company of neighbors that we love and admire.
Each were telling stories they eyed me and said “Roi,
Tell us all a good one of when you were just a boy.”

I adjusted my kufiya*, eased forward on the seat,
Arranged the collar of my robe so it was straight and neat.
Then taking one sip from my bowl while thinking out my plan,
I looked around and eyed them back and softly I began.

“I’ve been a shepherd all my life I know these hillsides well,
And now well over seventy I have a tale to tell.
One night like this when I was just  lad of seven years old
My expecting mother said ‘Get your coat, it’s already turning cold.’

“Tonight you’re going with the men to keep watch o’er the flock.
We have visitors staying with us, hark I hear their knock.
They’ve all come to be counted Augustus has said so,
The place is packed, I had to let that other couple go.’

“So I went with my father and my uncle to the hills,
The air was clear and we could see our small town in the rills.
It seemed to be just nestled there so silent and so still
And here and there a spark of light came flashing up the hill.

It was really beautiful as we gazed there alone
Watching quietly by the sheep so they wouldn’t roam.
But that night something happened that we’d never seen before,
So sit back now my brothers and I’ll tell you what we saw.

The wind came moaning through the trees it whistled and it sang
Like a chorus at the temple when the sacrifice began.
The rushing clouds before us transformed to an angel winging,
And this the message that it gave came to us through the singing.

‘Fear not for I bring to you good news for all mankind,
A Savior is given today and this shall be the sign.
In Bethlehem, town of David in a manger all forlorn
All wrapped up in swaddling clothes the baby has been born.’

And there was with that angel a marvelous heavenly throng
And this the message I recall that echoed through their song,
‘Glory be to God on high and peace to men on earth
Who have His favor, for today it is the Savior’s birth.’

“Then we went running down the hill as fast as we could go.
I had a lamb around my shoulder bumping to and fro.
There at the outskirts of our town in a stable bare and small
We found the blessed baby Jesus lying in a stall.

He wasn’t sad or crying he made no alarming sound,
His mother Mary smiled at him, with Joseph looking down.
All the cattle were watching, it was holy they could tell.
We gathered round him on the straw, and on our knees we fell.

“We left there telling everyone what we had seen that night,
Spreading it through Bethlehem with the morning light.
And when I told my mother she remembered with a swoon,
That they were the same couple for whom she hadn’t room.

“The little town was humming but you know it wasn’t long
Before the census was all over, and the visitors were gone.
All except the Holy Family they’re the ones who stayed,
And we watched carefully over them and for their safety prayed.

“Now in the weeks that followed my own mother came to term
And I soon had a tiny baby brother of my own.
One night we had more visitors who came from somewhere far,
They said they found their way to us by following a star.

“When we looked in the sky above we saw that it was true
There was a bright star with a tail shining in the view.
Those visitors came bearing gifts for “The New Born Babe”
Dejectedly my mother explained the big mistake they’d made.

She said, ‘You’ve got the wrong house you want the Messiah,
They’re staying at the cottage by the farm, a little higher.’
Before they left to follow on something strange they told,
“Don’t tell any one again, do not tell a soul.”

We did not realize at that time how our lives would be changing
That with the prophecy fulfilled the world was rearranging.
Soon more visitors appeared in ranks row on row
They were looking for Jesus demanding “Do you know?”

I lost my baby brother and my mother on that day
Soldiers, at King Herod’s behest, marched in to our dismay.
My mother tried resisting she covered the baby she adored,
But they just thrust them to the ground and stabbed them with a sword.”

I’ve been a shepherd all my life I know these hillsides well,
And now well over seventy I have a tale to tell.
I saw my Savior at his birth I knew when he had died
The sky went black and hid the sun, earth trembled far and wide.

But let me tell the good news, He rose and went to heaven,
And I have known the truth of Him since I was only seven.
He is waiting there for us beside His Father’s throne
And if we just but follow Him, He’ll claim us as His own.”

*Kufiya - a head dress worn by shepherds in the middle east