All posts by Dale Morris

About Dale Morris

Dale Cooper Morris was raised in Bryn Athyn, living there through two years at the college. She spent a year in England, volunteering at the New Church school in Colchester (long since closed) and getting to know her now long-time husband in his own territory on the other side of the country. They raised their four children in the same Cotswold village where they have now lived for 40 years. Dale fulfilled her childhood ambition to be a wife and mother, and she finally found what she wanted to do ‘when she grew up’: she has spent the last ten years as a freelance proofreader.

Don’t Fret

“Do not fret – it only causes harm.” (Psalm 37:4)

The political scene at the moment, in both my home country (USA) and my adopted country (UK), is rather bleak. Their citizens’ futures are uncertain. It’s a bit scary for the likes of me. I’m trying hard to take the long view, and to trust that the Lord is keeping an eye on things. I fear that times might get a lot worse before they get better, despite my confidence that the Lord will ensure goodness eventually comes out of whatever situation arises (in the broader world too with its own multitudinous troubles). Maybe, as with personal regeneration, my two countries will have to reach absolute rock bottom before they can learn better ways of working and begin to climb back up. It will not be an easy journey.

With no inclination to become a politician, I’m focusing on things I can do, trying to be an optimistic influence rather than a pessimistic doom-monger in my little corner of the globe: smile at those I meet; be kind, friendly, and helpful where I see need; play with my grandchildren; take part in my community; find fascination and beauty in the natural world; recycle and reuse as much as possible. “Trust in the Lord, and do good; … and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3, 4

Continue reading Don’t Fret

“If Anyone Hears My Voice”

I am convinced that all genuine religions contain at least some truth (the ‘church universal’), and that the New Church accepts the validity of other religions because of it.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

All nations whom you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)

The recognition that God exists and that there is one God flows universally into human souls. As a result, every nation in the whole world that possesses religion and sound reason acknowledges that God exists…. (True Christianity 5)

The Lord’s mercy is universal, that is, it is extended to all individuals. … So he provides that everyone shall have some religion, an acknowledgement of the Divine Being through that religion, and an inner life. Living according to one’s religious principles is an inner life, for then we focus on the Divine….” (Heaven & Hell 318)

I’ve just read Libby Purves’ book Holy Smoke – Religion and Roots: A Personal Memoir published in 1998 by Hodder & Stoughton. I would recommend it to anyone interested in how faith becomes a part of someone’s life. Continue reading “If Anyone Hears My Voice”

From Hub to Satellite

Once upon a time, a little girl in Bryn Athyn dreamed of visiting England, where three of her grandparents had come from. Time passed. The 6th grade countries project was an easy choice for her – England. More time passed. She returned from a prom one evening to the news that Charlie Cole was going to send her to the British Academy Summer School [BASS]!

While in England, she met a young man whom she thought looked a bit like Paul McCartney (Beatle mania had been at its peak only 2 or 3 years before). More time passed. He came to travel the USA on a Greyhound bus, spending time with her family. More time passed. She decided to visit this young man in his homeland, to get better acquainted. She would ‘earn her keep’ by helping in the New Church school in Colchester [long since closed]. Before a year had passed, they were engaged. They returned to Bryn Athyn to marry (because who wouldn’t want to be married in the Cathedral she’d attended almost every week of her life?). They returned to the UK so he could finish his college course. And she has made England her home since that day nearly 45 years ago, living happily ever after. The end.

Except it’s not the end. I’ve been ‘blooming where I’m planted’ for a long time now. I have evolved from a young woman fully immersed in Bryn Athyn life (the hub of the General Church) to someone living happily as a ‘satellite’ member of the Church in England, with only occasional direct contact with other NC people (apart from one other family – great friends – in our own village). How did that transition happen? Continue reading From Hub to Satellite

A Christmas Carol

A while ago, someone contributed a piece here about music or singing in a choir; I pondered whether I might submit my own attempt at a song one day. Here is that song and its story.

Back in 1992, at the suggestion of a composer friend, I wrote the carol below. The following year, he had set the words to music and led our village choir to sing it during the candlelit village carol service. This year, surprised at how long ago I’d written them, I sent the lyrics to our village newsletter for the December edition. (An acquaintance stopped me in the street the other day to say how much she liked them – that was a treat!)

There are many common themes in the carols of different Christian churches. I’d wanted to get some New Church ideas of what Christmas is about out into my part of the world, so anyone with an open heart might recognize whatever truth I managed to encompass in the words. It needed to be fairly short. It needed to touch on some of those common themes, but in a new way. I wanted to sow little seeds of New Church thought without being obvious about it. And I wanted it to feel positive. So with that in mind, do you think I accomplished what I’d hoped to?

At Christmas, at Christmas do we really know
Why the celebrations give us such a glow?
Can we sense the angels joining earth to heaven?
Have we understood yet why this gift was given?
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

At Christmas, at Christmas God came to the world.
Quietly, in darkness, wonderment unfurled.
Lowly manger baby, Jesus – gift of gold –
Brought his love to guide us safely to his fold.
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

At Christmas, at Christmas life can start anew
If we change the pattern seen in what we do.
Show good will, and cherish those we come to know.
Nurture love for others – heaven’s peace will grow.
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.