Tag Archives: Aretha Franklin

A song I am thankful for


A song I would always name, is “The Weight” as covered by Aretha Franklin. I could not find a photo for that. My thoughts then turned to the songwriters (words and/or music) who I am honored to call friends – Carter Anderson II, Adina Nyree, Shannon Beck, Jorge Gonzalez, David Lamotte, David Gambrell, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, Bob Brashear. If I missed you, please let me know and I will add your name. For the purpose of this post, I found a photo of Sera Chung.

Traci Smith, author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home has provided a gift of the November 2018 Gratitude Every Day calendar. I am using it as an opportuity to revisit photos and post them as they speak to gratitude.


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A simple star cut from paper bearing a word – received as a gift from God on Epiphany or the Sunday closest to Epiphany.

Many congregations participate in the practice known as Epiphany Stars.

Here’s how it works: Individuals have the opportunity to pick out of a basket a paper star.  The star will have a word on it, naming a gift from God; visually, nothing special, as God’s gifts are not always flashy.  Sometimes the gift is known by all to be one that you already evidence or experience in abundance.  Sometimes you will feel that it is something you’ve needed, a challenge to work on.  Often it’s something you don’t understand, or could learn more about.  In any case, it will provide you an opportunity to ponder and pray in the coming year.  It’s suggested that you display it during the year in a place where you will see it often.

As far as I know, the first Presbyterian congregation to experience Epiphany Star Gifts was Carpinteria Community Church in Carpinteria, California when the Rev. Sam Roberson served as pastor. An article about Epiphany Star Gifts appeared sometime during the late 1980s in Presbyterian Survey. A number of congregations picked up the idea, including Noble Road Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights where my partner and I served as co-pastors.

Noble Road has continued to share stars each Sunday. Even after Tricia and I took other calls, our sons would draw stars for us. This year, Tricia preached at Noble Road. The star she drew for me said: RESPECT.

I have long wondered if I am Batman. Now I am thinking that I may be Aretha.

See you along the Trail.

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