A Vespers for these Times… April 19, 2020


Hark the Vesper bell is pealing,

O’er the meadow soft and green.

Nearer now and nearer stealing,

Soft it breaks upon my ear.

Jubilate, jubilate, jubilate, Amen.   Jubilate, jubilate, jubilate, Amen.


It’s opening day.  Any opening day.  As everyone drives up Betsey Cox Lane, families notice our welcoming sign:  FUTURE WORLD LEADERS AT WORK AND AT PLAY.  For you campers, don’t you remember sitting up taller in your car, seeing yourself in a little bit different way as you passed that sign?  It’s true that each and every girl stepping out of her car onto a BC path is a future leader—her own sort of future leader.  In these unusual times, it is fun to explore just what leadership is and how to express it, even when we are all away from this special corner of the world.

SING:  “Peace” This favorite BC song reminds us that strong leaders must be strong followers, too.

Peace I ask of thee, oh mountains.

Peace, peace, peace.

When I learn to live serenely,

Cares will cease.

From the hills I gather courage,

Visions of the days to be.

Strength to lead and faith to follow,

All are given unto me.

Peace I ask of thee, oh mountains.

Peace, peace, peace.

STORY: “Pooh and Piglet go hunting and nearly catch a Woozle”-A.A.Milne

A.A. Milne, author of the wonderful stories of a community of animals living together in a hundred-acre wood with their friend, Christopher Robin, includes many important thoughts in his stories.  Here’s a favorite, and it has a lot to say about leadership.  You’ll see! (Note: this story is edited for this Vespers.)

One fine winter’s day when Piglet was brushing away the snow in front of his house, he happened to look up, and there was Winnie-the-Pooh.


Pooh was walking round and round in a circle, thinking of something else, and when Piglet called to him, he just went on walking.

“Hallo!” said Piglet, “what are you doing?”

“Hunting,” said Pooh.

“Hunting what?”

“Tracking something,” said Winnie-the-Pooh very                      mysteriously.

“Tracking what?” said Piglet, coming closer.

“That’s just what I ask myself.  I ask myself, What?”

“What do you think you’ll answer?

“I shall have to wait until I catch up with it, “ said Winnie-the-Pooh.  “Now, look there.”

He pointed to the ground in front of him.  “What do you see there?”

“Tracks”, said Piglet, “Paw marks.”  He gave a little squeak of excitement.  “Oh, Pooh!  Do you                         think it’s a—a—a Woozle?”

“It may be”, said Pooh.  “Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t.  You never can tell with paw-                        marks.”

With these few words he went on tracking, and Piglet, after watching him for a minute or two, ran after him.  Winnie-the-Pooh had come to a sudden stop, and was bending over the tracks in a puzzled sort of way.

                                  “What’s the matter?” asked Piglet

 “It’s a very funny thing”, said Bear, “but there seem to be TWO animals now.  This-whatever-it-was—has been joined by another—whatever-it-is—and the two of them are now proceeding in company.   Would you mind coming with. Me, Piglet, in case they turn out to be Hostile Animals?”

Piglet scratched his ear in a nice sort of way, and said that he had nothing to do until Friday, and would be delighted to come, in case it really was a Woozle.

 “You mean, in case it really is two Woozles,” said Winnie-the-Pooh.

Piglet said that anyhow he had nothing to do until Friday.  So off they went together.

Those of you who know the rest of the story will recall that Pooh and Piglet continued their tracking until suddenly there were three sets of tracks, then four, and then…his anxiety heightened by the fear of four Woozles, Piglet decides that he suddenly remembered something urgent he had to do and takes off back to the safety of his home.  Left to ponder the situation alone, Pooh suddenly hears a whistle and then another.  And then….there was his friend, Christopher Robin.  A.A. Milne continues the story as follows:

Christopher Robin came slowly down his tree. “Silly old Bear,” he said, “what were you doing?  First you went round the spinney twice by yourself, and then Piglet ran after you and you went round again together, and then you were just going round a fourth time—“

“Wait a moment,” said Winnie-the-Pooh, holding up his paw.

He sat down and thought, in the most thoughtful way he could think.  Then he fitted his paw into one of the Tracks….and then he scratched his nose twice, and stood up.

“Yes”, said Winnie-the-Pooh.

“I see now”, said Winnie-the Pooh.

“I have been Foolish and Deluded”, said he, “and I am a Bear of No Brain at All.”

“You’re the Best Bear in All the World,” said Christopher Robin soothingly.

“Am I?” said Pooh hopefully, and then he brightened up suddenly.

“Anyhow” he said, “it is nearly Luncheon Time.”

So he went home for it.

Here we have the perfect story for these times.  Winnie-the-Pooh takes the lead in an exciting exercise deep in the Hundred-Acre Wood.  The facts seem to suggest the presence of others, perhaps Woozles!  Piglet, having nothing to do until Friday, willingly follows his friend, Pooh, into the adventure.  The facts get more extensive, even a bit forbidding!  Two animals, then three, then four.  What to do?  Piglet has one solution—retreat to the safety of his home!  And Pooh?  He bravely stands his ground, but is much relieved when his friend, Christopher Robin, shows up and points out that, in fact, the tracks belonged to Pooh himself, and to Piglet.  In a fine ending to the story, Christopher Robin reassures Pooh, that, though he had been incorrect in assessing the situation, Pooh is, the “Best Bear in All the World”, leaving Pooh feeling pretty good about himself and about the day’s adventures and thoroughly ready for lunch.

There’s a few good points about leadership here in A.A. Milne’s story.  First, Pooh is courageous.  He’s curious about the tracks and willing to follow his question about them to an answer.  Secondly, he welcomes other opinions, in this case, Piglet’s.  He is focused, persistent, and confident that an answer to the mystery of the tracks could be found.  And then, Christopher Robin arrives, bringing with him, additional points about leadership.  Christopher Robin enters  into the question of the tracks.  He asks Pooh to consider why he and Piglet had gone around and around the bushes, leaving Pooh the opportunity to see the error in his thinking  even while reminding Pooh that he is a very special bear, indeed, one with much to offer, including lunch.

Leadership.  It includes these characteristics: curiosity, imagination, commitment to finding the right questions and the equally right answers, thoughtfulness, eagerness to work in a team, eagerness to follow as often as to lead, the ability to listen carefully to others and to support them even as you offer your own thoughts, enthusiasm for careful research and for exploring multiple possibilities before coming to conclusions, affection for others and their ability to contribute, acceptance that you and others will make mistakes, that you can acknowledge them, forgive yourself and others for them, and go on to look for the next answers.  A commitment to being a life-long lover of learning!  A commitment to patience—leadership in some cases takes a long time!  Wow!  That’s a lot!  Thank goodness that future world leaders at Betsey Cox have many opportunities to balance work on all these goals with plentiful time for play!  That’s what the sign says, after all!

SING: “Somos El Barco” by Lorre Wyatt

The stream sings it to the river, the river sings it to the sea.

The sea sings it to the boat that carries you and me.

Chorus: Somos el barco, somos el mar

            Yo navego en ti, tu navegas en mi.

            We are the boat, we are the sea

            I sail in you, you sail in me.

Now the boat we are sailing in was built by many hands.

And the sea we are sailing on, it touches many sands.

Chorus: Somos el barco….

O the voyage has been long and hard and yet we’re sailing still.

With a song to help us pull together, if we wonly will.

Chorus:  Somos el barco…

So with our hopes we raise the sails to face the winds once more.

And with our hearts we chart the waters never sailed before.

Chorus: Somos el barco, somos el mar.

            Yo navego en ti, tu navegas en mi.

            We are the boat, we are the sea.

            I sail in you, you sail in me. 

Among those at camp who for sure are future world leaders are those who participate in the first and second year Muggie/Leader program and finally, as STAF.  When they complete their STAF summer, they are more than ready to join the BC staff team!  For this Vespers, this year’s upcoming first-year staff, Julia Gonzalez, Georgia Kermond, Evie Samaha, Thea Samaha, Emma Pilz, Gwen Liston, Aine Powers and Hanna Hernandez are here to tell you some things they learned about leadership—at BC and beyond.  Thanks to each of them for contributing and special apologies to Hanna Hernandez whose words did not all come through as clearly on this Zoom recording.  Enjoy the treat of seeing and hearing these fantastic BC first-year staff!



Sing:  “If I had a Hammer” Peter, Paul and Mary wrote this song to inspire each of us to use our voices and our energy to help lead our world in the right directions.  Go for it!!

If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning

I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land.

I’d hammer out danger.

I’d hammer out warning.

I’d hammer out love between my sisters and my brothers.

All over this land.

If I had a bell, I’d ring it in the morning.

I’d ring it in the evening, all over this land.

I’d ring out danger.

I’d ring out warning.

I’d ring out love between my sisters and my brothers.

All over this land.

If I had a song, I’d sing it in the morning.

I’d sing it in the evening, all over this land.

I’d sing out danger.

I’d sing out warning.

I’d sing out love between my sisters and my brothers.

All over this land.

Well I’ve got a hammer,

And I’ve got a bell.

And I’ve got a song to sing

All over this land.

It’s a hammer of Justice.

It’s a bell of Freedom.

It’s a song about Love between my sisters and my brothers.

All over this land.

Last thought:

This is a new day.  You have been given this day to use as you will.  You can waste it or use it for good.  What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.  When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever.  In its place is something that you have left behind.  Let it be something good. –Anonymous


Jubilate, jubilate, jubilate, Amen.  Jubilate, jubilate, jubilate, Amen.








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