Reverend Martha’s Meditation for May 5th, 2020

  • Posted on May 20, 2020

Dear Beloved Emmanuel Community: As we continue on in this seemingly endless stay-at-home period, we struggle with the monotony of our days.  But it is the daily repetitions of our lives that we spend most of our days.  And God is a constant in that repetition.

We know a lot about the repetition of the daily these days.

We get up and seem to do the same thing at our homes day after day.

The dishes in the sink pile up quicker.  More dishes, more laundry, more trash at home.

Seems like the grass is growing faster.  More grass cutting to do.

If we have children, more games, more arguments (maybe), more food to buy.

What new meal could we possibly come up with—when that means another store trip and the monotony of masks and distancing and worry.

Repetition of the daily might be the last thing we want.

The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard reminds us that “Repetition is reality, and it is the seriousness of life…repetition is the daily bread which satisfies with benediction.”

In this edition of NOVA, I not only talk about repetition and God in my video message but I also share some of the daily repetition of life at Emmanuel and in my family.  There is the opening photo of Mike Price, ready to cut the grass as he does every week at Emmanuel.  There is the short video of our grandchildren Abby, Charlotte and Mikey riding their bikes. And finally, there is an article by our Chief Docent, Ron Growden, about our Washington Street wall–a fixture in our daily lives that we saw most days (see below).  On Sunday, our Vestry approved the contract with Belt Construction to begin the complete renovation of the wall.  The work will start in a couple of weeks and we’ll be reporting and updating you on process and finance in the days to come.

The daily is our life-blood, our daily bread–it is where we find God and the constancy of love.  Eastertide blessings, Rev Martha

The Emmanuel Wall

On Sunday, April 26, 2020, a small part of the stone wall surrounding Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Washington Street in Cumberland collapsed.  Its repair and enhancement are already underway, but the event has led to renewed interest in the historic property.

Emmanuel’s Sanctuary was constructed in 1850 on the site of Fort Cumberland, a British colonial installation used during the French and Indian War (1754-1762).  The fort was built partially under the supervision of a 23-year-old George Washington and included trenches and tunnels that have survived until the present time, serving now as the basement of the church.  It was in these tunnels, according to local oral history, that Emmanuel’s dedicated abolitionist Rector, David Hillhouse Buel, and like-minded parishioners operated a station on the Underground Railroad during the decade leading up to the American Civil War.

Initially built along Washington Street, the wall was modified and expanded to include the Greene Street side of the property during construction of Emmanuel’s Parish Hall in 1901.  For 170 years now, the wall has witnessed the development of Cumberland, our Queen City of the Appalachians.  For those interested, tours of Emmanuel’s Sanctuary with its Tiffany stained glass windows and 265-year-old Tunnels may normally be scheduled, post-pandemic, by visiting or by calling the church office at 301-777-3364.

Emmanuel Church, surrounded and protected by its wall, continues as a vital source for the Tri-State Area, religiously, historically, and culturally.  Its doors are always open to all.  Welcome!
as of 4/29/20 Ron Growden

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