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The Pastor’s Offering: Gratitude for a Meaningful Celebration

Dear Ones,

Wow. It is hard to put into words the deep sense of gratitude I feel for the ways in which you poured out your love and affirmation last Sunday in honor of my 20th Anniversary. I appreciated the children being involved in the ritual of blessing and I am glad the waters of blessing did not get poured over my head!

During the litany when Eric invited people to rise if they had experienced different aspects of my pastoral ministry, I unexpectedly felt the tears well up. As you all stood, I also was able to imagine all the faces of other beloved ones who have been part of the FCCA Community. It has been amazing to walk alongside so many of you during life’s most important moments.

I was also struck by the part of the litany in which Eric recounted some of the things that have been invented or have happened in the world over these 20 years. When Eric noted there were no iPhones when I began at the church, lots of things flashed through my mind — like the fact that the church had a dinosaur computer and had to buy me a new one in my first week. I thought of the first time we used an iPad with the children as part of the time with children as well as the oral history video I filmed of our elders talking about their lives. (And then the reality that we could not get the video to play in worship.) We truly have gone through quite the tech revolution. Who would have imagined livestreaming our worship services or meetings on Zoom 20 years ago?

Which brings me to the best gift I could ever receive from a church community — a 32 minute compilation of video clips of YOU sharing your love and appreciation while looking into a camera. I have watched my “private” tribute film twice now. It, too, brought many tears as your heartfelt words poured over me and touched the deep places of my soul. Thank you to Sylvia for compiling the video clips and thank you to all who were able to film one.

And of course, if all that was not enough, there was yummy food and cake and fun and fellowship. My gratitude overflows and I am thankful to Alexandra for capturing some of the celebration in pictures.

Please know that I consider it an honor and a blessing to have been and to still be your pastor over these many years. Walking life’s journey with you brings so many gifts.

As this new fall season begins, I look forward to all that will unfold as we move into the future. First up, this Sunday, we have four baptisms and welcome six new members, along with four children and two teens. I hope to see you Sunday as we welcome these beloved ones!

Many Blessings,
Rev. Laura


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