Dear Church Family,
I have returned to the office and pulpit after a two week break to rest and rejuvenate my thoughts. When Covid came upon us in March we switched to as many formats of reaching you that we could take on; daily videos, zoom gatherings, regular telephone calls. You responded with gratitude, although there were some aspects of our offerings that you preferred over others. All of you expressed your desire to return to in person live services, with the caveat, when it is safe to do so. Our work load increased significantly for our staff Patricia Santos, Judy Godde, Linda Burdett and Phil & Beci Rohkohl and myself. Particularly Linda, Beci and Phil who serve without compensation for many of the tasks they fill and skills they provide.
We are a small church with programing ambitions of a large church. We’ve always been this way, it is part of our culture. I noticed this when I first attended nearly 7 years ago – we had weekly pot lucks. Weekly pot lucks! Each Sunday morning either Colin and Carol Buckley or Dick and Jan Martin would fill the coffee and tea pots, set the tables, and prepare the room for the potluck – before service began. Each Sunday after the pot luck was finished they would oversee the cleaning of hall and kitchen and we were ready for the process to begin again the next week. Others offered their assistance in the process – but when I look back on it - it was a huge undertaking!
Churches are service organizations – they are meant to serve the congregants, the surrounding community and maybe even beyond their geographical location. Many hearts and hands have served our church community; Linda Fisher, Rev. Ann Dunican and Terry Lenkner served with hundreds (maybe thousands) of hours for the Thrift Boutique. Patricia Santos, David Carr, Cheryl Cannon and now Jeanenne Tietge all worked the soil to make our quiet garden and campus beautiful with flowers and growing things. Gayle and Brian Culbertson along with Ray and Connie Hayes put many many hours into renovation of Hammons Hall and the church that has served us well over the years. Many of us have served multiple roles in our service to God through this ministry. And while we cannot serve in the same ways in this age of Covid, we continue to support our ministry through prayer, focused thoughts, reaching out to others, generous financial giving and tithing, and participating by watching the daily videos and attending our weekly zoom sessions.
I usually write tributes to our volunteers each January when we have our Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. This year in the midst of the Christmas Season, I feel led to offer a tremendous thank you to everyone who serves God through this ministry. This includes servants from our past and present. You are very appreciated by the many who like me sometimes forget to express it immediately.
This time of vacation allowed me to soak in the enormity of the work we attempt to do. It’s much bigger than a little church. It’s much bigger, because we are much bigger in heart, thought and spirit.