A quite full and exotic day:

  • After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel, we were picked up by Fr George and Jill Woodliff at 10. They are a delightful couple, with an earnest zeal for the mission of the church and a deep heart for the people and communities among whom they serve.
  • We drove about 30 minutes south and east–more or less tracing the contours of the Yazoo River along the topographical dividing line between the flat Mississippi Delta and the hillier country to the east. Dogwoods in full bloom, azaleas beginning to make themselves known, trees in the early stages of leafing out–a beautiful day.
  • We arrived at Emmaus, an ecumenical retreat center operated by an AMiA priest and his wife, occupying the core part of what was once an vast ante-bellum establishment called the No Mistake Plantation (and that’s no mistake). It’s peaceful, verdant, operated to the glory of God and the benefit of all His holy Church, and an important spiritual resource for the poverty-stricken delta area.  It was restorative just to be there for an hour or so.
  • Heading back to Yazoo City now, we stopped downtown at Grace Hardware. It was built as a hardware store in 1904 and operated that way for many decades, but now a couple of ladies who are Trinity Church parishioners sell antiques and high-end yarn (yes, you read that right) there. We walked through a downtown that remembers is devastated past quite clearly but is showing signs of life. One of those signs is a store that performs a service to several independent artisans and craftspeople by aggregating their wares under one roof and handling retail sales on their behalf even when they’re not around. We left some money there. Two places in downtown Yazoo City were sets for the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Lunch was at a BBQ place owned by parishioners. It’s award-winning fare. Next door was another retail establishment, also owned by Trinity parishioners, featuring an array of items–some wearable, some plantable, some edible–that is difficult to categorize. We left some more money.
  • Then we drove west of town, over the river and into the delta, observing flora and fauna and the homes of some parishioners and famous people (like former governor Haley Barbour).
  • Back to town now, this time right to Trinity Church. The parish dates back to 1833, the sanctuary to 1904 and the nave to 1940. We toured the whole facility. I played the organ a bit. Brenda and Jill went off to the rectory while Fr George and I discussed a range of issues, from the sublime to the mundane.
  • At 5pm tomorrow’s confirmands arrived (five adults), and after walking through the mechanics of tomorrow’s liturgy, we had a brief teaching time wherein I attempted to break open the specific nature of the renunciations and adherences that they will be reaffirming in the morning.
  • Then it was off the the magnificent hilltop home of one of the confirmands–the owner of the BBQ restaurant–for dinner with vestry members and spouses. A lively and convivial time.
  • My introverted self is now pretty worn out, but looking forward to the Fifth Sunday in Lent.
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