Some of you may have already seen this letter from Rev. Dorothy Sallee, we just thought her words of witness were worth hearing again. We give thanks for the saints of our church!
Dear Friends in Christ,
On behalf of the Annual Fund I am privileged to share some personal thoughts with you.
In August of 1943, I attended my first Christian Youth Fellowship Conference. Seventy years later I still remember many of the leaders and friends that made that week so special. It was the first of many “thin times” in my life in the Christian Church in this Region. In Celtic spirituality the “thin times” referred to those moments when God seems so close and so real that there is hardly any separation at all. In the two decades following that first CYF conference, I was a conferee, a camper, or a counselor nineteen times. In all of those weeks, I experienced many “thin times,” and I recognized that others did also.
In September 1950, I attended my first State Convention of the Christian Church in Illinois. While it was my first, it was the 100th Anniversary of such meetings for business, worship, and fellowship. As a student at Eureka College, I participated in some part of the program, but what I remember most was the Women’s Luncheon. I sat next to my mother who voted with five hundred women to welcome the new organization the Christian Women’s Fellowship to Illinois. In all of the decades since that time, I have experienced the “thin times” at workshops, retreats, spiritual life conferences, spring events, writing retreats, and Quadrennials. My mentors are too numerous to mention, but you would know many of them. I cherish the many supportive and lasting relationships formed with women from around the Region. Along with hundreds of women, I grew spiritually, gained information and appreciation for the mission and ministries of this denomination, produced materials, and learned how to be a leader, so that when opportunities opened for us both locally and in the wider church, we were ready.
In November 2000, my book So Great a Cloud of Witnesses was a part of the Sesquicentennial Regional Assembly celebration. During the four years that I researched and wrote that book of stories, I marveled at the sacrifice and commitment of so many people, both past and present, who have made mission and ministry strong in this Region. With each new frontier, we met new challenges, made changes when appropriate, but always sought to be faithful to God, to God’s message, and to God’s people.
Why do I support the Annual Fund? I believe that gratitude and generosity belong together. Much of what I have to be grateful for . . . much of what all of us have to be grateful for in our local churches and in our personal lives comes from the way we are church together. Supporting the Annual Fund is my way to be a part of this continuing endeavor.