Friday, August 31, 2012

Pumpkin Ice Cream

We gave away ice cream on a hot August afternoon. It was for a good cause. The Drake House, a local non-profit serving single moms and their children, was holding its annual fund-raising event, Miss Mary’s Ice Cream Crankin’. Volunteers and organizations made gallons of homemade ice cream to give away. Participants and tasters paid their money to sample lots of flavors.

We at Christ Church were excited to support a worthy non-profit, so we packed up a table and decorations and spooned out our ice cream. We did, however, we had an additional incentive. In one short month, our church will begin what is for us our largest annual event; our Pumpkin Patch. By the beginning of October, the front yard of our church will be covered with pumpkins big and small. It is the biggest outreach to the community that we offer. Our hope in attending the ice Cream Crankin’ was to offer invitations along with ice cream samples. We thought the best and most tasty reminder would be pumpkin ice cream.

Though I had heard of pumpkin ice cream before, I was taken aback by the astonishment and reluctance we saw when we told folks what we had. The hesitation didn’t last long, however. Almost everyone who tried it became an immediate fan. It was delicious! Even I was surprised by how good it was and I made some of it! We won a lot of converts to pumpkin ice cream that day. I hope, through our invitations, they will also become coverts to Jesus. But first they had to try something new; take that first step into the unknown.

Taking those steps is rarely a popular thing to do. None of us like it, and almost never will we make it our choice. Many of us United Methodist clergy got to do just that a few months ago when our General Conference decided to do away with the practice of guaranteed appointments. Having been in place for several decades, the system of guaranteed appointments meant that while we clergy agreed to go where we are sent, the church agreed to send us somewhere. The repeal of this practice stunned many of us. I began wondering if I could afford law school. Am I too old to learn a new language? Is there a field of work out there that will feed my kids and pay my mortgage, and what will it take for me to do it?

After much prayer, I realize that God is calling me into the unknown . . . of the path I am already on. The work that I do every day is as much a leap of faith as venturing out onto some new trail, to a new and never-before-experienced place. Sometimes staying where we already are is as much a step into the unknown as turning new corners. The only certainty we have – or have ever had – is Emmanuel, God with us. The rest is always mystery.

So I’ll try new ice cream and keep my old job for as long as God means for it to be so. Most of all, I will welcome the unknown that greets me anew every day.
Blessed eating!

Pumpkin Ice Cream
4 oz. egg substitute            1½ cups heavy cream
1 cup of sugar                       tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin                    1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger           1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, processor, or blender. Mix well and chill thoroughly. Process in ice cream maker for 30-40 minutes.

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