Spring has finally come, and with it, finally, GOOD NEWS!


Yes the river is low.  Yes, there has been a lot of bad news this winter.  And yes, winter has been dark. But in the mail this week, the good news arrived.  On the front, behind our address, was a picture of Potter’s Beach.  The stray rock was right where it has been for the forty years we’ve known the beach, and Ant was in the distance.  A sentence snippet ran across the bottom of the picture:  “Shall we gather at the “River”…..


So we tore the seal…and …written over a picture of the Island Church, Emmet’s steeple proud and straight, the reason to gather was…


“to join Urch Balcom and Harry Slate as they become husband and wife on Saturday, June nineteenth, nineteen hundred and ninety-nine at three o’clock in the afternoon,  Grindstone Island Methodist Church, Clayton, New York.”


Everyone on the island pitches in to make an island wedding special, especially if it is a church wedding. There will be a casual pot luck reception afterward in the old carriage house,  and I’m sure the women are already planning what delicacies they can bring to make  the dinner tasty. The Antique Boat Museum on Mary Street is doing its bit too. A shuttle boat to and from the Island will transport all the guests who have been invited.


In fact, everyone on the island is busy planning and preparing for the celebration.  Chris Williams and Aleatha are working every day to make sure that the church restoration will be complete. Already the back wall is in place with the picture of Jesus in the garden safe from stray stones and wind. The two new windows are installed and look lovely. The beadboard is sanded, the cove lighting is in place, and two new sanctuary lights, donated by Rexford Ennis, are already providing light for the carpenters. The walls even may be painted by this time. So what a day we will have. Surely blessings will abound!  The bell will ring out over the fields and woods for Harry’s and Urch’s wedding.  In the image of God He created them…and…so it is.


The first regular service will be held in the restored church on June 27th, and the new summer minister, The Reverend Richard Petry and his wife Mary who reside in Jacksonville, Florida, will be at home in the Grindstone parsonage. He is the cousin of Al and Pat Taylor, long time friends of the Grindstone church. We will all have a lovely reunion after a winter away from our many island friends. At the coffee after worship we can catch up with each other’s news, our trials and our good fortunes…and, not least, our hundreds of laughable anecdotes.


Mark your calendars to be sure to attend the July 11th meeting of the congregation to be held immediately after the morning worship.  The Rev. Wendy Rhodehamel, the district superintendent, will celebrate with us, and we will have time to give particular praise and thanks to the many people who have worked so hard to keep the Rev. Shorts’ old church standing straight and tall and gracious under the branches of the poplar tree that gallantly survived the ice storm. 


Maybe it was Audry Lashomb’s book, GOING HOME that enticed Mrs. Corbin’s grandson to rent Judy Bacci’s orchard house for the summer.  Verda Corbin has been such a faithful keeper of river lore that we are delighted to have her offspring among us!  And  we may also even have an astronaut among us this summer!  But if we do, that space man will discover untold joys down to a little piece of earth standing firm and unadorned and simple and still in the middle of the St. Lawrence River.


 So it is.   

Aminta Marks