DANCING WITH THE SPIRIT VISITS EAGLE
By: The Rev. Belle Mickelson
Pete Peter and I flew into Eagle on July 21st. Bertha Ulvi met us at the airport. We loaded 12 fiddles, 3 mandolins, 8 guitars—and our bags in the back of her small pick up truck and traveled 5-10 mph over a temporary road (mats laid over the wetlands). This road ran parallel to the river to reach the gravel road to the New Village on a high bluff overlooking the Yukon River, about 5 miles away.
We really saw the flood devastation as Bertha drove us back on the new road. The village site was bare ground—and all the buildings were pushed back in a shambles a half mile from the river—and downstream a half mile Just the church roof was sitting there on the ground. The granite baptismal font and the church bell are outside the Village Council Office.
Music and Art Camp went really well with 25 youth participating from 1-5 pm at Redmen Hall. We had a great final picnic, student concert (both outside at Redmen Hall) and fiddle dance with about 100 people participating.
The highlight of the week for me was the 5:30 pm Wednesday church service at the village site attended by 15 The sun shone on the grass and sand—as we stood and sang and prayed in the outline of the church. Heres where the door was, heres where the altar was, they said. We set up the altar on a blazo box covered with a sheet. Ruth Ridley prayed in Han. It was very moving with people crying as they though of all the good memories—and some sad ones, too. Daisy told me later, Ill never have a home like this one.
We did GBD —the walking on water story—and we thought we felt and saw Jesus out there walking toward us on the Yukon River. It was a good time to remind ourselves that the church is the people—not buildings—and that we are all here What a blessings that no one died in the flood.
I have to admit, I cried when we left Friday morning. We had made such great friends!