Yesterday was probably the roughest day I've had at St. Johns. I walked in, knowing that everyone had received the letter of my acceptance of a new call. I received many tearful hugs, some folks didn't even mention it, and others joked that they were mad. The rough part was worship. There was this underlying sense of 'ugh'. I don't know how else to explain it...I think the 'ugh' comes from the gap between my excitement for the new call and the feeling of loss within the congregation.
The moment that I teared up was at the end of communion. The family who lit the Advent wreath also assisted with communion. The husband and wife (in their mid-late 40's) had their granddaughter with them...I'm not sure of her age, but she's in the ones maybe almost 2? Oh, I don't know....probably the ones...since she had her pacifier and grandpa held her as they lit the advent candle. Then they came up for communion and since it was by stations grandpa held her in one arm as he held the tray of cups in the other. Then the three of them came up to the altar. I gave the bread & wine to the wife & husband, then made the sign of the cross on the little girl's forehead and said, You are a child of God. God loves you and God blesses you. And through the pacifier she said, "thank you!" (I get teary just typing about it.) These are the moments you don't ever want to let go.
I looked at this family...who have been with the congregation just for the past year...what a blessing it was to marry them, to get to know them...and see them with grandkids.
After worship we had a brief congregational meeting to elect council members.
Coming into the meeting we had two blank spaces on the ballot : Vice Chair and Evangelism.
The Chair Person called the meeting to order...and asked for nominations...she is a tough woman, who has been through a rough last few months, and while she is one to always step up to the plate, she is just plain tired. It took a while, but we eventually received a volunteer for Vice Chair and the woman who assisted in worship that morning volunteered for Evangelism.
This congregation has the leadership and the people to continue to see ministry happen in this place...it was great to see God working through both of these people empowering them to share their gifts.
The afternoon was full of housecleaning, singing a cantata at church in the afternoon and watching the Pats do some damage to da Bears. I was bummed that my dear friend couldn't attend the cantata due to weather, but post-football game, I put up the tree and decorated it and just relaxed by the fire. All in all, a pretty amazing, emotional day.
Until next time...