Sunday, June 04, 2023
Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.



Your Roving Reporters spend portions of the winter season in the small southern California desert community of Borrego Springs.  It’s one of the relatively undiscovered gems in the world of RV travel, unlike the better known RV winter resorts just a bit further north in the Palm Springs area.


Borrego Springs is a very small community (approximately 3,000) surrounded by the Anza Borrego desert State Park, a vast area of some 600,000 acres of pristine desert.  The surrounding area is spectacular for those who can survive for reasonable periods of time without finding a shopping mall or a big box store.  The mild and dry winter climate provides an enticing escape for those living much further north.  We’ve visited this small community for short periods of time in the winter for more than 20 years.  It’s one of those amazing small towns where everyone seems to know everyone else; where you’ll find incredibly friendly people behind the counter at the post office.  The pace here is calm.  No one seems to be in a hurry.  And everyone has time to be friendly.



For such a small town Borrego has what seems like a disproportionate number of churches.  Several are located adjacent to one another at the southwest corner of town on what’s known locally as “church row”.  One of these is the Borrego Springs Community United Methodist Church -- a place we’ve visited frequently whenever we travel to this “secret desert” destination.  The church is comparable in size to our own Florence UMC, and understandably it is particularly well attended during the winter months when the snowbirds inhabit the area.  

Because we usually have Barney, our Brittany companion, with us in the car, we’ve typically parked on the “shady side” of the church when we attend services there.  That’s a bit away from the main entrance in front.  However this past week we decided to take a few pictures of the church with an eye to doing s short article about it.  So we walked around to the front of the church to snap a few photos.  One item that we’d not previously seen was the sign in front of the church which contained this message:


While the message was by itself a thought-provoking one, it was not until we were leaving church that we noticed that same sign, on the opposite side, had quite different wording -- and it was only then we recognized the whole message:


Although the setting for these signs, framed with palm trees and desert scenes, was vastly different than Florence, Oregon, how very familiar the cumulative meaning of these messages were for us.  This was simply another way of articulating a theme that we’ve heard on so many occasions from Reverend Ruth.  And while it may have slightly different meanings for different people, clearly it captures the essence of the feeling we often take away after attending a service at our own Florence UMC.  Indeed we do leave church to go “out into the world” with a sense of a renewed commitment to bear witness to our discipleship.

One might speculate on why this sign was placed where it is.  Perhaps it’s just another example of the old adage: “If all else fails then just read the instructions”...

Tom & Stephanie