Church Marketing Sucks Gets Press

The church communication and marketing blog Church Marketing Sucks, which I’ve been writing for since the site’s beginning, has been scoring some press lately, including How magazine, an Issue Dynamics interview with yours truly, and the November/December issue of Ministry Today will feature the Communication Toolbox from the Center for Church Communication (the nonprofit parent of CMS). CMS also recently celebrated its 1,000th post.

Dreaming About Being Back in High School

I have recurring dreams (nightmares?) about being back in high school. I can’t find my classes, I’m in the wrong classes and I’m always late. Last night I had another one. I have these dreams so often that in last night’s dream I made an off-hand comment that I always have dreams like this.

But this time it was different. Instead of growing more and more panicked when I couldn’t find my classes and realized I was signed up for the wrong classes, I went straight to the office and calmly asked them to straighten it out. I shrugged when I handed them my schedule, as if to say this always happens.

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Lily Pond at Como Park

Ground ShotAs I mentioned the other day, the Lily Pond is one of the attractions at Como Park that captivates me. Check it out in 1910 and again in 2007. Or try this angle, 1912 and 2007.

The Lily Pond was built in 1895. The original wooden bridge was replaced in 1903 with the current fieldstone and concrete bridge. You can easily find postcards from the early Twentieth Century featuring the Lily Pond with an assortment of people in their finest clothes taking in the Victorian water lilies and the flagstone path around the pond, both of which are gone today. The lilies were removed in 1926 when the area became too shady for the lilies to flourish and the pond was soon drained.

That was more than 80 years ago and it doesn’t seem that the pond has changed much since. Its surroundings certainly have, especially lately with the 2005 addition of the Global Harmony Labyrinth and the removal of Kauffman Drive in 2007.

And still the Lily Pond sits there, which is really an anachronistic name since there are no longer lilies or a pond. There’s just an ancient bridge, a concrete floor, stone walls and random pipe remains. It’s peaceful and quiet, but echoes with the past.

Word is that Como Park hopes to someday restore the pond, though they haven’t found the funding to do it.

Como Park

Schiffman Fountain w/ Lexington Pedestrian BridgeI’ve been talking about local parks a lot lately, but I haven’t said much about one of my biggest obsessions: Como Park. A while back I mentioned starting a Flickr group for Como Park (currently 615 photos and 34 members strong!), and there’s my own collection of Flickr photos, the Wikipedia entry I’ve contributed to and numerous visits.

There’s just something about Como Park that captivates me. It’s got a lake and a zoo and a conservatory. But it also has a 100-year-old abandoned pedestrian bridge and a lily pond that’s been dry for decades, but 100 years ago was quite the attraction. It’s also got cool WPA buildings and lots of sculpture and art.

I think the sense of history and mystery is what intrigues me. The park has changed a lot in its 100+ years, and some things have been forgotten over the years. Some of those forgotten things have disappeared, while others are still standing, covered in weeds and waiting to be rediscovered.

Hunting on a Sunday

As you may remember I’ve been into family history lately. When I was last in Kansas I borrowed the history book of First Baptist Church of Ellinwood, the church my parents attend, my grandparents attend, and I’m apparently related to half the church. I’ve been pulling family history from the book and I came across this entry:

January 30, 1894 – Decided we send a letter to Otto Bruckeman and if he is willing to ask for forgiveness because he was hunting on Sunday, we will forgive him.

I think it’s hilarious (and a bit sad) that this note made it into the church records. It’s kind of amazing Christianity survived through such legalistic times. Also makes me wonder what stupid things we do today that someone will look back on with embarrassment in 100 years.

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Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

Saturday was one of those beautiful October days when you just have to be outside. So after finishing up the required lawn work Lexi and I went on an adventure. We went to Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, a former brownfield and railroad yard and now a swatch of park land just east of downtown St. Paul. The site itself has tons of history and interesting features, including the North Star Brewery Cave, an odd Imnizaska/sand castle restoration area (that’s what the sign says, I don’t know what that means), the bluffs, wildlife, planes, trains, great views of downtown, remnants of the train yard, remnants of the Lowertown Depot building (which I still can’t find any information on) and, of course, Carver’s Cave, perhaps better referred to as Wakan Tipi since the cave is sacred to the Dakota people (never mind that the railroad obliterated much of the cave’s grandeur).

It’s a great little park, especially now that it connects to Swede Hollow Park and Mounds Park and now that they’ve added some signage to explain the significance of the area. There’s also more work to be done as they try to connect Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary with the Mississippi River–no easy task since you have to get past a slew or railroad tracks and the four-lane Warner Road. There’s also a proposed interpretive center, though it’s hard to find specific updates on that (though using the abandoned Lowertown Depot building seems like a no-brainer).

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I Hate Being a Home Owner

Some days I hate being a home owner. While we recently did get our toilet fixed (thanks to my father-in-law), the problems just keep coming. Our gas fireplace won’t stay lit. Our doorbell stopped working. And the toilet that’s fixed has a tendency to keep on running until it leaks out the flusher handle. Bah.

I suppose I can be thankful that none of these are serious problems and like any good home owner I can ignore them for a while.

The Clay Pits of Lilydale Regional Park

View of Lake PickerelEarlier this week Lexi and I returned to Lilydale Regional Park to check out the clay pits. We made a bit of an adventure out of it by biking over to Lilydale Regional Park (less than a mile) and then hiking down the trail. We brought along one of those backpack carrier things so when Lexi got tired of walking I loaded her up on my back and the hike continued. Which was a good thing, since by the end of it I was up to my ankles in mud (remember all that rain I talked about?). As usual, we took a few pics and even some video.

We found some pretty amazing cliffs (OK, seriously, who lives here?) that are apparently used for ice climbing in the winter. We also found some mangled metal and concrete, apparently leftover from the Twin Cities Brick Quarry days. It’s hard to believe all this is within sight of downtown St. Paul.

Oh, and some of the video is geeky enough to post right here:

Hiking with Lexi from kevinhendricks on Vimeo.