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Go against grain, uplift and encourage

By Marvin Repinski

At a time when printed and verbal statements are characterizing people and institutions in dark, degrading terms, let’s switch the dialogue. I wish to spread light, uplift and encourage.

The following will lack accusations, bad-mouthing, degrading young adults, and rehearsing negatives of the past. You can find that in other venues.

A reminder: Step forward, please, if you ordered your parents off of Craig’s List. You didn’t choose your skin color.

The last several weeks have, by good fortune, been a time of interacting with various groups, people, and communities. My listing of some of these times are, I believe, a pointer to the kind of world people of good will work to create. My contacts, ministerial position, and personal commitments, and requests by others, form the basis of these remarks.

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1) A recent trip to the Hancock, Wis., rural area to preside over a memorial service for a woman named Tina, who died of cancer. Her many months, a battle, a suffering given support, especially by a hospice unit, is an example of splendid care by doctors, nurses, staff and family. People do care! 

2) Spencer, Iowa was another recent trip to lead a memorial service for a woman whose baptism I officiated many years ago. Her disappearance 22 years ago was resolved when bones, identified by DNA, gave evidence of a tragic death, abduction and murder. Over the years, family, neighbors, and law enforcement personnel, hung together to have this disappearance resolved. Chloe, I believe your deceased daughter now rests in God’s peace. People do care!

 3) Two weddings I officiated; one at Ellendale United Methodist Church and the other, an out-of-doors service at a farm west of Dexter. Listen up, please! The rehearsal times, the weddings, and receptions all say "we believe in a generous future created by kind friends." People do care!

4) Funeral services found many tear-filled eyes at Austin’s Fellowship United Methodist Church and the Grace Baptist Church respectively.  Listening to the family responses and viewing mortuary and church members reveal the affection, not only for Wayne and Walter, but are signposts pointing to a grand fact. People do care!

5) The recent Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church’s 150th Anniversary said to me: There is a rich history of loyalty and compassion. History speaks along with the display of aging tractors. And Pastor Gene – your energy of civility and love — my, what interaction you ignite.  People do care!

6) The free food lines that form at our Austin churches like the Salvation Army and Christ Episcopal Church deserve a special salute.  Are you aware of the many who, without a financial reward, believe that lower income people are worthy to sit at table and be served a carefully prepared meal? People do care!

7) The fund-raising recital at St. Olaf Lutheran Church for the mission work of Jacob Dalager almost raised the roof of that beautiful reconstructed house of worship. By the way, the roof wasn’t lifted, but a shout of "Bravo" indicated how Jacob, a recent St. Olaf College graduate, can turn a trumpet into sounds that would qualify for a seat at a major symphony orchestra. Jacob, son of a musical and multi-language family, will soon be leaving for Malaysia. He will be part of a Christian volunteer agency teaching at an orphanage. Examples of many supportive people and a recognition of the Austin school system that plants the seeds for cherished vocations that bring encouragement to a wide public. People do care!

8) Have you shopped with the Chamber’s Grow Austin emphasis?  Try Doland’s Nursery and what I call an environmental, nature advancing center. The staff, some of whom also attend Riverland Community College, go "the second mile," as I discovered, to help a person "go green." People do care!

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9) The Summerset Community Theatre with the dedication of volunteers, young and old, from the greater Austin area, are examples of energized talents that give and continue to give.  Powerful performances. Themes that are similar to the stories and reportage of the Post-Bulletin are set forth on the Frank Bridges stage. People do care!

10) The community-wide welcome that Austin’s board of education, Mayor, and parents are giving to the new Superintendent of Schools, David Krenz, is bracing. The voice heard is the children of our area may be diamonds in the rough, and we pledge to create an atmosphere where they can sparkle. People do care! 

Will you join others, to sometimes go against the grain and continue uplifting traditions and dreams?

Marvin Repinski of Austin is an adjunct professor at Riverland Community College and a United Methodist pastor.

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