Remembering the day the Search Committee of the First Congregational UCC of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, called me as their Senior Minister, I recall asking, "Are you sure you really want a staunch Bears fan to pastor you Green Bay Packer fans? To which one woman quickly replied, "Rev. Bill. It's true. We ARE mainly lifelong Packer fans....but you can 'referee' when we play the Minnesota Vikings, because there are Viking fans among us too!" I admit to feeling the same incredulity regarding the UCC Chautauqua Society accepting a Santa and Mrs Claus as Chaplain Administrators. But here we are. And thank you.
Being a part of five different professional Claus organizations, Laura and I have 'zoomed' with Claus couples worldwide, across the country, Canada, South and Central America, Europe, even Australia. We even have 'Brothers in Red' who are Jewish, and some professed atheists too. The Lone Star Santas of Texas, for example, may differ with us theologically and politically but we have the same common purpose, so by and large, we can stay jolly together.
As Thanksgiving brings that shared 'attitude of gratitude;' as Advent nears; we believe that as different as we may be, we of the UCC Chautauqua 'family' imbue and embody a 'oneness' that we all cherish. To me, that oneness is best summed up in the verse of the carol 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'--The hopes and fears of all the years...are met in Thee tonight." We share great hope. And yes, we must own up to fearfulness at times.
But we are a people bound together by much more than our idyllic summertime Chautauqua camaraderie--today, tomorrow, and all our yesterdays are met by a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
-Bill and Laura Hoglund-