It turned out to be a pretty nice Fourth after all.

When I saw the overcast weather, I thought, "Oh, no, our visitors will be disappointed again!"

I was reminded of the Fourth a few years ago when the weather turned out to be really disagreeable. I had stopped at Safeway after church and had pulled my cart close to the rack to leave plenty of room for others to get past me. Reading a label, I barely noticed the woman who said, "Excuse me!" as she sashayed by. Since neither of us encroached on the space of the other, I nodded and kept reading. Then, she snarled at me, "Well! So much for your so-called California hospitality!" and quickly flounced down the aisle.

Surprised by the vehemence of her comment, I stood there with my mouth open, and was tempted to call after her "But I'm from New York," but I didn't. After all, it would have been the truth.

But the way things turned out this time was just about perfect. The parade participants were able to march the distance without being uncomfortably hot, and then the sun came out for the afternoon.

Thanks to some really sweet folks at the Triplicate, I was able to see the parade for the first time in several years, and my daughter Sue, here to help me with post-op recovery, was able to see what I meant when I told her we had a great parade every Fourth.

We finished the day up at my church, New Life Community, with a potluck and a ringside seat for the fireworks - a really nice day overall.

While we had no visitors to our church last Sunday, on many Sundays throughout the year travelers will join us as they pass through. I always ask what brought them to our church, because there are so many larger ones. They usually say they found us on the internet. We may be small, but the first time I went to a service there, I felt at home. I like a small church where I can actively contribute, buthad I preferred a bigger one, they are here to be found.

These days, a lot of folks have given up on going to church. For one reason or another, they've either simply stopped going or have been hurt by someone in their church, even though unintentionally, and they quit without even trying another one. If that's you, I'd like to invite you to try New Life or any of our other churches because there are great folks in all of them, and they would welcome you.

Our community has a lot of churches for its size. Most if not all major denominations and styles from traditional to contemporary, charismatic, and non-denominational.Whatever your choice, we probably have it.

Upcoming activities remain almost the same as last week, with things slowing down as is typical after a holiday.

At Pelican Bay Evangelical Free Church, there will be a special speaker in the Sunday morning service on July 20.

Chuck Neighbors, a professional actor and storyteller, has a unique repertoire of dramatic and comedic presentation to bring, and all are welcome. The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the church located on Blueberry Lane.

Vacation Bible Schools:

andbull; July 14andndash;18, Foursquare Church: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade.

"'By Royal Proclamation by Order of the King,' The King's Kids, Standing Strong for God," will consist of fun, games, snacks and more as they learn about God. On Friday, the program will be from 6andndash;7:30 p.m. for the family.

andbull; Aug. 17andndash;21, Fort Dick Bible Church: an evening program, from 5andndash;8 p.m. for kids ages 4andndash;13.

"Western Roundup" will be led by Timothy Silcott, evangelist and ventriloquist from Altoona, Iowa. Dinner will be provided for kids, and "Parents Night" on Thursday will feature root beer floats. For more information, call 951-9662.

What special things does your church have coming up? Email me your info on them so you can let people know what's going on. You never know when it might bring someone new to your church. Whenever I moved to a new town, I always tried the Sunday evening service of the church I was interested infirst andndash; if folks were welcoming, I went back. If not, I tried another.

This column is usually written Thursday evenings for the following Saturday, but if you have something good pop up at the last minute, it is possible to add it early Friday morning.

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000 or email