Sep 4, 2021

Chalice Connections hopes to continue its mission this month of presenting timely articles and views of our Fellowship authored by a wide a range of our friends and members. The winner of last month’s cartoon was Mary Jane Williams who submitted the following caption:

Lorrie, so much for
keeping a low profile!


An appeal from the editor:

Would you like to tell a short story, or add a bit of humor to Chalice Connections? Let me know and I’ll contact you and make a recording of your contribution and post it in our Surprise section. Would you like me to interview someone? Let me know. Live sound can help make our newsletter come alive.

If you have visited a restaurant you like, drop me a note. Seen an interesting movie recently? Let me know. Such contributions do not have to be long or elaborate. They could be just a few sentences.

Longer articles, and Letters to the Editor, are welcome as well and you may email me it to me directly.

Fred Parmenter, Editor

The IPCC Report

Aug 19, 2021

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The sixth report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report came out this month (the fifth was published in 2013). The four thousand pages are not an easy read, but the brief summary has enough information to help us understand what many of us already knew – it’s getting warmer and we are to blame.

It’s not a pretty picture. The report states that all regions of the planet are now experiencing the effects of climate change. This is mainly due to the 2,400 billion tonnes (one metric tonne = 1000kg) of CO2 emissions we have created since 1850. If we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we should only create another 500 billion tonnes, but at our current rate of around 35 billion tonnes annually that is unlikely to happen. Each 1,000 billion tonnes can warm the atmosphere by approximately 0.5°C.

So, what has happened to the CO2 we have produced? About half of it has been absorbed by the oceans, with resultant acidification, and the rest is still hanging around in the atmosphere and will for many centuries.

Since it’s unlikely, maybe impossible, that we will get CO2 emissions under control in time, this IPCC report suggests tackling methane emissions. Methane is the major component of natural gas and, after CO2, is the second most important contributor to greenhouse gas warming. Molecule for molecule it has more warming potential than CO2, but its half-life is much shorter. If we could reduce our methane emissions (e.g. stop methane leaking from gas pipes, reduce landfill emissions, design different feed for ruminants, eat less meat) we might have ways of slowing warming until CO2 reduction becomes effective.

The Economist, commenting on the IPCC report in its August 14th edition, uses the analogy of one of the iconic scenes in “Jaws” – Chief Brody witnesses a shark killing, sees blood in the water, realizes how wrong he has been and changes his perspective. The columnist writes – “But when, in November, the world’s governments get together in Glasgow to discuss how they can improve on the insufficient action they have taken to date, they need to think like people who have seen the blood in the water.”

Comments are encouraged. Please email them to me.
Alan Searle


ZOOM Security

Well I had something odd happen to me the other day. I was using ZOOM at a meeting. I left the meeting early.

The next day I received an email telling me that after I left the meeting the group could still hear me talking for a minute or two.

As I investigated this incident over the next couple of days I learned that my little ZOOM box (which held my photo) closed when I left the meeting, but they could still hear my voice. Just a voice without any box attached. And this lasted a minute or so.

Here’s something that makes the whole event even more remarkable. At this meeting I was an observer and, as a courtesy, I kept my microphone muted for the entire meeting. Even when I left I just left – I didn’t unmute and then say goodbye. So, somehow, ZOOM unmuted me and transmitted my voice after I left the meeting.

Recently I heard a somewhat similar incident regarding Skype. A couple was using Skype to chat with their daughter. Eventually they signed off Skype (but left their laptop open). Eventually their daughter had to call them on the their cell phone to tell that that even though they had signed off Skype she could still see what was going in their house.

This is all very worrisome. On my computer the microphone and camera have to be plugged in. So every time (if I remember) when I am done using ZOOM I unplug them. But a laptop’s camera and microphone are built in. What do you do then? On our laptops I scotch tape a small piece of paper over the camera. That way a hacker cannot possibly see anything. But physically disabling the microphone is more difficult.

So that’s my tale of the dangers of using Skype, ZOOM and maybe other social media applications. Please email me if you have a story or a suggestion that I could pass on.

Fred Parmenter

The light touch

Aug 14, 2021


A few minutes with Ron Taylor

June 22, 2021

In 1963, my freshman year in college, I was a writing and humanities major until I saw Fellini’s 8 ½, a movie that Fellini considered half-a-movie because of its surrealism and lack of a normal dramatic plot structure.

That movie moved me to get my advanced degree in film.

I taught at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro near my home town so that i could film my autobiography “Behind These Eyes” which was chosen for a one-man show in 1975 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The traumatic births of my two sons in 1980 and ’84 turned my camera on serious documentary filming, but my two boys added their own excitement with enjoying life such that the movies I made of them are entertaining AND enlightening in the best sense of Gene Youngblood’s 1963 book Expanded Cinema.

I filmed my first son’s 3-month-premature birth Jonah Has A Rainbow and 4 years later I began filming Side by Side which follows his brother’s 35-year journey with severe cerebral palsy. The life-long learning with Micah culminated in my illustrated book All by Self from which I read passages in his movie Side by Side. Living together made it easy to document their souls’ journeys through family, school, and community relationships.

This fall I am scheduling both the 38-minute pilot and the 90-minute feature for film festivals and conferences where I provide a workshop as well sharing my “Lessons Learned” from my parenting and filming my special sons with special needs. I’ve learned these lessons apply to all people, each of us in our own special way.

I’d love to chat with you. Please email me any comments or questions you may have.

Sep 4, 2021

Theater review

My review this month is on a classic movie. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. 1958. Staring ingrid Bergman. Curt Jurgens and Robert Donat.

This was based on a true story of Gladys Aylward. A British citizen that went to China to be a missionary. Gladys back ground story being barely 5 feet tall with a humble beginning of public school up to 13 years of age. The missionary school was like a private club for the more affluent. Gladys attended, was a ” hopeless student ” and was cast out. That did not stop her, she pledged her life to God. Working as a domestic servant, she had the ability to imitate accents of others that had a higher status and breeding. Gladys was able to serve in the homes of missionaries and learned from them . Living in one room maintaining a frugal life style. She set out to China, by boat, train, on the back of mules. Held in Russia for a period of time. She arrived in rags, filthy, penniless and ill. Her claim to fame was marching 100 children. Ages 4 to 8 over 100 miles through mountains to safety under Japanese attack.

A very moving and entertaining movie that I highly recommend.

Patrick Eaton


Restaurant review

Aug 13, 2021

Lisa & Allen Roberts continue this month telling us about another of their favorite eateries: Big Bamboo Asian Fusion

We recently dined at Big Bamboo Asian Fusion at 4104 El Jobean Rd. In Port Charlotte. The restaurant was full but we only waited about 15 minutes on a Friday evening.

We enjoyed sharing an edamame appetizer. Al had the Hunan two ways with chicken and shrimp. The proteins were cooked to perfection and the heat/ spice level was just right.

The other entree was Buddha’s Delight with fried tofu. The vegetables were cooked well and the brown sauce was tasty. It could have used more sauce.

The waiter was very energetic and delightful. We highly recommend Big Bamboo and are looking forward to returning.

Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park

Aug 22, 2021

The Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park is located at 6968 Reisterstown Rd in North Port.  It is very easy to get to.  Take I-75 to Exit 182.  Turn right onto Sumnter Blvd.  At its end turn left onto Tropicaire Blvd. and then your first right onto Reisterstown Rd. 

The park is down a little on the right.  Drive in on the dirt road.  In a little bit there will be a parking area.  The park has restrooms.

A group of us went there last April. Dorothy and I rented the pavilion. It comes with a picnic table, a covered area, a grill and two absolutely beautiful large trees one of which is shown below:

There is another large tree to the right of the one shown above. That’s where we set up a croquet game. I grilled in the grill shown above and we spread out our chairs and tables under the tree shown.

The pavilion costs $40 to reserve for four hours. Which was plenty of time for us. No one else was around. We probably didn’t even have to reserve it. You call 941-861-7275 to book it. At the same time ask for lock code to unlock the chain (not shown). That will allow you to drive onto the lawn, unload, and then return your car to the parking lot.

Note: The park does not allow glass in the pavilion area.

There are trails throughout the park. One of the images below is a map of these trails:

I wish I had more pictures of the field area. It was quiet, idyllic, and such a pleasant place for a gathering. Even if don’t use the pavilion I think you will find the trails very enjoyable, not too long, and relatively kind to those with balance issues.

Fred & Dorothy Parmenter

Micah by Ron Taylor

Aug 21, 2021

The short 3 minute video below is the trailer to Ron’s movie about his son Micah:

To see the full 38 minute movie click here and, when prompted, the password is side.


Jim Meloy’s Passing

April 7, 1948 – August 10, 2021

James G. Meloy, 73, of Port Charlotte, Florida died Tuesday, August 10, 2021 at home.

He was born April 7, 1948 in Madison, Wisconsin to the late John L. and Alice (Goodearle) Meloy. He moved to Michigan in 1991 and to Florida in 2013. Jim was first an aircraft technician for Sentry Insurance, serving as flight engineer on many overseas trips. His beautiful baritone voice graced a number of local musicals in central Wisconsin, from “Li’l Abner” to “South Pacific.”

Later, in Michigan, Jim fulfilled a lifelong dream (inspired by his grandfather) of becoming a beekeeper, selling raw honey and beeswax and pollinating for the stone-fruit, apple, blueberry, and pickle farmers in the area. A figure-it-outer par excellence, he perfected a system of pollination that resulted in his bees’ producing far more honey than traditional methods allowed. When chronic fatigue syndrome struck in the mid-90s, he was forced to give up his bees and retire early, after which he made positive use of his now-free time with philosophical, social, and family pursuits.

Such facts, however, do little to convey Jim’s multiple virtues—and an equal number of quirks. He was that rare thing: a man who talked wisely about his and others’ emotions. He was intuitive, generous, and patient. He loved playing with and mangling common phrases and sayings, often with bawdy new slants. He was smart, affectionate, funny, and kind. He was also frugal (could never resist BOGO sales; jury-rigged money-saving contraptions), yet dispensed huge tips and gave away all his Stimulus money. He was stubbornly anti-authority, joking that he wanted YOU WEREN’T THE BOSS OF ME on his tombstone. He was completely indifferent to clothes, wearing out the same few faded shirts he most favored, and could be constantly seen wearing a poncho given to him by his daughter and didn’t mind being teased about wearing a skirt.

Jim could also sleep anywhere—and did—with no qualms about public dozing. This quirk long preceded his chronic fatigue. As a flight engineer, he was trained to listen for sounds of engine malfunction, and the others on board understood that when (never if) Jim Meloy went to sleep, all was well. Once, during an FBI trainers’ hijacking simulation, the crew was made to don black hoods. Unintended comic relief came when snores soon emanated from under Jim’s hood. When the “crisis” was over, he had to be shaken awake.

Another distinguishing trait was his fascination with quantum physics, including many-worlds theories, and time travel. Inspired by the 1980 film “Somewhere in Time,” Jim actually purchased money dated before 1955 in hopes of traveling back to his own past. At the same time, he was firmly grounded in the today, full of gratitude for what he called “the gift of consciousness,” a loving domestic companion who took on what roles he could manage in spite of fatigue and the other medical issues that impacted his last several years.

Jovial, gentlemanly, handsome and tall, with a full head of silvery hair: Jim leaves an abyss among friends and family alike. He is survived by his wife, Sharon Kay Whitehill of Port Charlotte; a son, James J. Meloy of Raleigh, NC; two daughters, Adela L. Gentry of Elljay, GA and Amie L. Schuett of Wild Rose, WI; and a brother, Jeffrey Meloy of Port Charlotte, FL.


Doug Lowndes’ Passing

Douglas (Doug) Henderson Lowndes, Jr. (81), of Port Charlotte, passed away on August 15, 2021 at Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte, Florida.

He was born on January 3, 1940 in Pasadena, California.

Doug is preceded in death by his wife (Gayle), brother (Frank) and parents (Douglas and Frances). He is survived by his partner (Maureen Peters), children (Erik & Celeste Lowndes and Katie & Kevin Hart) and grandchildren (Mason, Kayla, Nick, Lexie, Leah, and Adria).

Prior to retirement in Florida, Doug was the founding Scientific Director for Oak Ridge National Lab’s Center for Nanophase Materials Science and a professor at University of Tennessee and University of Oregon. After enjoying many years of sailing with friends and family, Doug recently published his first novel and has a second book pending publication.

Letters to the Editor

Sep 2, 2021

Guest Editorial by Rev. Kathy Schmitz, Ministerial Consultant

One of the great paradoxes of congregational life is that a good fight makes a community stronger. Note that I’ve said a good fight. I’ve seen bad fights, too, and those are not helpful. But a good disagreement, handled with respect, can take a community deeper. It can, in the long run build trust. I believe that the hard work of staying in community during challenging times can be some of the most important and deeply rewarding spiritual work there is.

It seems to be part of human nature that many people are conflict avoidant. They go along to get along. The problem is that then we don’t really know them or their points of view. In a religious tradition in which we honor the gifts that each person brings, this self-imposed silence is a great loss. We need all the perspectives – even when a certain perspective is not that of the majority, it can be important to hear. It can help provide important nuance to the direction eventually taken. It can slow us down (in a good way) and invite us to consider options that were not on the table.

It can be hard to voice our differences, and it can be hard to hear them, but we are stronger when we do. After we have gone through the challenging experience of managing difference, we know that we can handle it. When most people in a community are trying not to make waves, fear can keep us from sharing honestly. That changes when we risk sharing, or watch others do so, and see that we, or they, are still loved and accepted. Fear is reduced. We are freer to share our true self. That, to me, seems like a real win for religious community.

Another reason that committing to engage difference in our congregations is important, is because it gives us practice. The world “out there” is a wild place. Sometimes we can’t begin to imagine how we will manage all the conflicts we see. But here, in our covenanted communities, we have the opportunity to learn together. We have tools like our covenant, that calls us back, again and again, to healthier ways of being.

We learn that the covenant is not a weapon, but rather an invitation. With it, we remind people that we are a community, a community full of humans. We will make mistakes, all of us. We are less skillful than we might like. We fall short of our own expectations. When we do, there is a community of people inviting us back, giving us a chance to try again.

At its best, covenant holds us together, stronger than any creed, tougher than the conflicts that seek to divide us. When we see it in action, it can give us hope. We can have confidence that there is a way forward. We can rest assured that we can always begin again in love…together!

Photos of Art on the Wall

Sep 4, 2021

Please enjoy the summer member exhibit, but follow all guidelines from the weekly updates.
Try to remember to social distance. Let’s keep each other safe. This member exhibit will remain up through September. Trudy Gerhardt, Co-chair

The photos below of the art were taken below by Tom Deuley