Tracing history's paper trail

This probably reveals something about my generation, but whenever I come across a mimeographed copy of anything, I immediately place it on my face and breathe deeply. It’s not warm like it was in grade school, but you can still catch a whiff of that wonderful scent. I won’t explore too deeply what chemicals created that smell, but between the Elmer’s school paste and hot off the mimeograph copies, grade school was an olfactory delight.


I’ve been going through the minutes of the Juneau Cooperative Church Council. What a delight to find mimeographs to smell and typewritten papers where you can feel the impressions of the typewriter. What a delight to read through the history of an organization that has touched many lives over the last 28 years.

I won’t pretend like I read them closely or I am an expert on this group. I’m happy to be corrected on any of the history that I present, but don’t leave your comments on the newspaper comment site. I don’t read those because they just make me shake my head and feel sad. Give me a call and I will be happy to retract any errors.

It looks to me that before 1986, there was the Juneau Ministerial Fellowship that included many of the congregations in town. Out of this fellowship, the Glory Hole was born in 1981. The official name of the Glory Hole is the Juneau Cooperative Christian Ministry. The earliest notes that I found for the Juneau Cooperative Church Council are in 1986. It was formally organized to “meet human need in Christian context and witness throughout the community.” There were many wonderful activities, such as, the Advent & Lenten Lunches, School of Religion, Theologian in Residence, Shared Mission Events, Prison Ministry, Blessing of the Fleet and Youth Programs.

We still host the Advent & Lenten Lunches, but meetings dwindled to just a few folks who only met a couple of times a year to plan specifically for the lunches so it has not been a vital organization of late. As pastors, a crew of us started meeting every Thursday morning to support, challenge, and study scripture together. But, we miss the part of having a regular meeting with more people from the congregations so we are starting again. On Tuesday, Sept. 17, all the churches who seek to work together may gather at Northern Light United Church at 1 p.m. We recommend having a pastor and two lay representatives present.

This is a great opportunity for community agencies to talk with multiple churches at one time. It is a chance for congregations to discuss responses to community events, like the closing of the Front Street Clinic, or suicides, or food and housing shortages. It’s also a fabulous occasion to witness to the church’s call to love one another. If you haven’t noticed, there are lots of churches in Juneau. This is the time for us to gather and figure out where we can work together for human dignity and life in this community and world.

I’ll even bring soup. Probably chicken noodle because I love the way it smells.

Tari Stage-Harvey is the pastor at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.


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