McCook, Nebraska, is a town full of surprises. The first surprise that I discovered when I travelled there on Sunday is that the place is known for its year-round warm weather. Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean that it’s actually warm in McCook all year long, just that it’s warmer than most other places in Nebraska. Something about the town’s location between the Platte and Republican Rivers has formed a kind of microclimate–which is great for corn and alfalfa, and also for wanderers like me. (Actually, when I stopped by, it was still kind of chilly and overcast, but rumor had it that just a couple weeks ago the temperatures climbed to 80 degrees!)
Another great surprise that I encountered in McCook is a house designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright (or FLW, as his super-fans call him), was a leader in the “Prairie School” movement of American architecture, and believed that buildings should be designed in harmony with their environment. He only designed a few homes west of the Mississippi, and one of them is on the corner of F street and Norris (right across the street from St. Alban’s Episcopal Church) in McCook. The striking building is also a private home, so I didn’t want to snap too many pictures. I did manage to get one, though, just for my faithful readers:
St. Alban’s is a beautiful church. Even though it’s just a stone’s throw from a modern American masterpiece, it’s no slouch itself. Rich woodwork, crisp and colorful stained glass, lovely artwork and carefully tended grounds, are just the backdrop for a welcoming and lively congregation. And let me tell you, these folks can sing! They belted out both hymns and service music with gusto, and I appreciated the opportunity to let my rather weak singing voice derive some strength from its neighbors. I love it when that happens.
The folks at St. Alban’s also love to give–something that makes this little bishop especially proud. The parish hosts the McCook Pantry, which is run by the local Ministerial Association, and housed in the Canterbury building on St. Alban’s campus. What a great witness to the community, and a great opportunity for people to pitch in to help their neighbors.
Speaking of great opportunities to help your neighbors, here’s a little PSA for you:
That’s right! Lent is just around the corner, and this season provides a rich opportunity to grow closer to God through serving others. If you’re still considering what your Lenten discipline will be this year, you may want to try volunteering for an hour a week at your local food pantry, soup kitchen, or community meal. Also, if you’d like to learn more about the Christian tradition of Lent, check out Bishop Barker’s recent letter to our diocese.