Friday, December 19, 2008

Now I know what it feels like

to be one of the school authorities who has to decide whether to cancel school and give kids a snow day. When I was an educator in Jeffco Schools in Colorado, I loved snow days and reviled any superintendent who was chary with them. I had a fairly long drive to school, up I-70 to Ward Road and then up and down a few hills to get to Oberon Middle School, and the freeway was often a scary place to be. I did not want to be out on the roads if the snow was bad and it can get very bad indeed out there on the west edge of Denver. The kids were squirrely as all get out too, and that made lunch duty more onerous than usual.

Anyhow, today we have had numerous conversations about what to do about our Sunday service. The kids' pageant has been scheduled for this Sunday, with their major rehearsal tomorrow morning. Problem: the RE staff and their children can't get out of their houses because of steep driveways and icy terrain. Some of the families live in equally difficult places.

After many phone calls and emails, we have finally decided to cancel the pageant and its rehearsal. We are expecting another big storm to come in tomorrow afternoon and inundate us again by Sunday morning, so it seems very wise to cancel now and face the possible embarrassment of clear skies and warm temps on Sunday. As a back up plan, we will have a brief service and carol singing for anyone who shows up at church.

It is so hard to know what to do sometimes! But I think we've done the best we can. We'll send out an email Sunday morning (we've already notified the participants of the cancelation) to let folks know whether we will have a service. Luckily virtually everyone here uses email. If I can get over there and am not stuck at home, I'll welcome anyone who arrives expecting to find church in session. (I feel like the principal of the middle school who has to go to school even on a snow day!)

But it seems to me that, though we have an obligation to keep folks safe, we also have an obligation to be available as much as possible. If that means that I am the only person there when a stranger comes looking for a spiritual experience, so be it. "Where two or three are gathered together..." and all that.

I did get out and about this afternoon. Richard had transported me to the jam last night and broken a trail down the driveway, so it wasn't too bad. I got the last snowshovel at ACE and a new mailbox, as mine has lost the back panel and is open to the elements. When the snow melts a bit more, I'll replace it.

We've had to cancel tonight's Young Adult activity as well as our Trilogy rehearsal. Richard called a little while ago to say that his road was blocked by an accident, so he can't get out yet and has to cancel today's rehearsal. We have a Bayview Sound rehearsal tomorrow---we think. Who knows? This is such weird weather for Whidbey Island!

4 comments:

The Eclectic Cleric said...

Your descriptions of living with the snow storm on Whidbey has actually made me a little homesick for the Pacific Northwest, and nostalgic about the brief time I spent as a consulting minister to that lovely congregation back in 2000-01.

We had our first really significant snowfall of the season this weekend too -- about six inches here in Portland Maine, which will slow us down a little until the streets are plowed, but poses no real danger of closing down the church, unless by some quirk of circumstance we should happen to lose power. It will cut into our attendance though, but just how much is hard to say.

Anyway, love the image of Max bounding through the snow you shared in one of your earlier posts. You must have more up-to-date photos than that kitten pic to share. And give my best holiday wishes to all my friends on the island!

all my best,

Tim

Buddha said...

Now I remember why I moved to Hollyweird :)

boston unitarian said...

Hello,
Before his retirement my father was the Superintendent of a South Dakota school district and it was his responsibility to determine school cancellations. For a time we lived across the street from the school and he often joked that he would call off school if he couldn't see the school from our house.
Imagine the fun we children had going to school on days that could have gone either way-the other students were less than thrilled with us!
I am looking out my window at several inches of new snow and that, along with your post brought back a flood of memories...Thanks and Blessings, BU

ms. kitty said...

Tim, you are remembered very fondly here by those who knew you well and they often ask about you. And I do have new pix of Max---I just need to publish them. Maybe I'll do that today.

And thanks, BU, for reminiscing here.