I've received several very sweet cards from church members; it is nice to be remembered. So, in that vein, I would like to offer a Pastor Appreciates column:
~I appreciate a choir that brings a beautiful message each week. Musically we're all over the place at FCC, and I'm glad. There is a variety of style and genre. We have wonderful musicians, leaders, and accompanists.
~I appreciate our young people. We have a group of youth who are wicked smart. They are invested and involved in the whole life of the church and not just on the periphery in a youth group.
~ I appreciate our new family members. We have been blessed beyond word in the last few years with a strong group of people who are on board for the whole ride. They bring gifts and energy and a willing to grow in their relationship with God. What strength and what growth! And we see the fruits each day.
~I appreciate the core family. We have an interesting mix of life-long Disciples and those coming from another denomination ( or none at all); we have intergenerational groups; we have folks who have been here 30, 40 even 50 years. Their devotion and walk and institutional memory enrich us all.
~I appreciate those who are no longer here. There were many before us who - through time and tide and change - do not worship with us now. But their stories are still a part of the larger story of this place.
~I appreciate our elders, deacons, Board officers, and teachers. There are so many folks who spend much time and energy working with our mission, outreach, education, and spiritual growth groups and do so without a lot of fanfare.
~I appreciate those who reach out to make sure I am doing okay, who tell me they pray for me. It is always a special blessing.
~I especially appreciate my husband, who - as do most folks who are partnered with those in ordained ministry - has had to shoulder responsibilities far beyond those of church membership. He shows up on Saturdays to make sure the baptistery isn't leaking, he has been awakened at 2.30 am when there is a call from the ICU and made coffee so I can drive in safely (and on occasion, has driven me in), he spends a few evenings alone when the meetings run too long. He has had more than a few vacations cut short, start late, and even cancelled completely - and without a word of complaint. What a treasure.
I love our church family. I am alway grateful to God (well, MOST days...) for the call to ministry. I am still excited by possibility, still stunned by mercy, still knocked to my knees by the sound of grace.