Two old, old friends: Phil is 91, and John (Mohr) 80. Ellie and I met them 30 years ago when we left Winston-Salem to be a part of the Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. They were two of a very large number of beautiful people who had attracted me to the point where I was willing to uproot a very contented wife and three school children to be there.
The first social function to which I was invited was at the home of John and Harriet Mohr in Rockville; on that occasion I had a chance to meet many of the C of S people.
Two or three years later the church divided into 6 faith communities and all these new friends were scattered to the winds, still able to contact, but much harder than they had been. Ellie and I refused to join the dispersion; we formed a mission group that remained at headquarters and looked after the weekly worship service conducted by Gordon Cosby, the founder (and still pastor). I was scouring around trying to find someone to join our group-- enough of us to be allowed to do this.
Phil had beeen 'hanging around the church' for 17 years, but never joined (actually quite a few were in that category and still are). I induced him to join our group, and he eventually became a member of the C of S in good standing; that was about 1976.
After retirement Ellie and I found our way to Ocala. We issued an open invitation to our friends to come down in the winter to escape the cold. John and Phil accepted that invitation about ten years ago and still come every Feb; they play golf.
As some of you know I induced John to try his hand at blogging. We've worked at it, and he now seems able to stand up on his own (they're going home tomorrow). However the first blog stalled because his password got lost. Anyway six of you responded by commenting on his old blog. The new url is spiritualsearcher.blogspot.com. It warmed my heart to find so many generous people.
Yes, Alice, the church was (and is) very activistic. The year I went up there (by myself for a year's sabbatical) Gordon had formed a new mission group to buy two old apartment buildings in the inner city, and rehabilitate them to provide better housing for the inner city. Being by myself I felt led to volunteer to live in one of those buildings while it was being renovated; I was the only white person in that building. That's just an example of the bold sorts of things the church has done. Probably the most spectacular was to empty Childrens Village, a monstrous dumping ground for all Washington's unwanted children. Over a period of years they did it, providing homes for an immense number of homeless children. (That was actually an ecumenical activity, but started at the C of S.) It was (is) a great church, and 'churches of the savior have been organized all over the world, but not organically connected to the original one.