It’s heartening to see the good that blooms when people share their gifts. If you were at the 11:00 service on Sunday, you may have seen the beautiful knit scarves, sweet Christmas tree ornaments, yummy baked goods and colorful pins available at the United Methodist Women’s Holiday Fair. Clearly created with love and great talent, these items inspired a shameful level of covetousness in me but also a great appreciation for the skill required to make them.
Based on my son’s recommendation, we purchased a felt snowman ornament with a sequined blue scarf. He was made by Renata and Leah Dickerson and I’m looking forward to remembering the Dickersons each Christmas when we hang it on our tree. Less immediately visible than the effort and artistry that went into making these items was the generous spirit of their makers, who donated proceeds to the benefit the UMW World Thank Offering.
Glenn’s generous spirit has also shown up in other ways in the last few weeks. If you get Atlanta Magazine, you may have seen the Give Atlanta circular that arrived with the November issue. In it, the editors showcase their Giving All-Stars. Headlining the list is our own Andy Rogers, for his contributions to the Decatur-based non-profit Day League. As the article notes, Andy has served on the Day League’s board since 2000 and “he’s chaired its Take Back the Night race committee many times, trained volunteers who work to support survivors of sexual assault, and helped guide a team that changed the organization’s name from the DeKalb County Rape Crisis Center to its current one. His work as a prosecutor in DeKalb County drew him to volunteer with the organization.”
But Day League is just one way Andy works to support victims of sexual assault. He founded law firm Deitch & Rogers in 1998 for the sole purpose of filing lawsuits against negligent third parties whose actions create conditions that allow criminals to victimize innocent people. In this way the firm seeks to help assault victims recover from feelings of helplessness, giving them hope that these conditions will be changed so that no one else endures the same crime.
Glenn congregant Reverend Wesley Stephens has also been applying his gifts to making the world a better place, and was honored for his efforts by LeadingAge Georgia, the Georgia Institute on Aging, at a November 5th gala at the Atlanta History Center. Surrounded by his family, he received a Positive Aging Award. The presenter noted his role as primary care giver to his wife Annette while she was living with dementia and how he continued serving Glenn and the community at Wesley Woods Towers after she became ill.
At Wesley Woods, LeadingAge Georgia notes, “he has been a source of much encouragement to other care partners, often counseling and offering support. He is often a resource for staff members and spends much of his day checking on staff, offering assistance in any way he can.” Around the Towers, he’s regularly brightening days with his jokes and stories, and is known as the go-to guy when anything needs to be fixed, having repaired everything from file cabinets to wheel barrows.
In spite of a recent neck fracture, Wesley remains active (he insists on being called “Wesley”), and has accepted with grace the news that he will have to wear a neck brace for the rest of his life. He gave his car to his granddaughter, always makes an effort to get to know and encourage those assisting him with his care, and is adapting to the physical changes he faces every day, including learning how to puree food and becoming an expert at eating various things with a straw. And there’s this anecdote, which puts my minor aches and pains into better perspective: He recently joined his family on a week-long camping trip, neck brace and all.
LeadingAge Georgia’s appreciation closes with a telling quote from Wesley. "When reminded of how many people he has helped in his career, some of whom he has not even known he has helped, Reverend Stephens simply states: 'Let’s not forget those that I could have helped and didn't.’”