I have always been prayerfully attempting to weave these moments together into a more intimate knowing of your story — your family, your aspirations, joys, and sorrows.
All those years I fell for the great palace lie that grief should be gotten over as quickly and as privately as possible. But what I’ve discovered since is that the lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place and that only grieving can heal grief; … only by experiencing that ocean of sadness in a naked and immediate way do we come to be healed – which is to say, we come to experience life with a real sense of presence and spaciousness and peace.
– from Small Victories by Anne Lamott
There will be many things I’ll miss about Lincoln Park: my drive down the hill on Jefferson Boulevard into our tiny hamlet, our beautiful brick colonial church. An introvert by nature, I’ll miss my second story office (which was my bedroom for six years when I served as associate pastor) where I could escape to read, prepare Bible Studies, and write sermons, while listening to the sometimes steady flow of traffic below — of people stopping by to drop something off or speak with Marilyn. I’ll miss our sanctuary with its high white ceiling, tall window, and soothing green painted walls, the same paint used by the trustees in the parsonage living room and hallway, bringing everything full circle.
Of course, what I’ll miss most are the people. I feel fortunate to have been able to work with a gifted, dedicated staff. There has been many a Sunday when our Worship Leaders, Mark and Becky, and Bev, our organist, pianist and Music Director, have helped carry a service, especially when I’ve struggled. The Music Ministry at Lincoln Park, with our Praise Band, choirs, and special music has been inspiring. Marilyn, our Office Administrator and Bookkeeper, while often sleep deprived, has been a joy. Carl, our Sexton, is one of a kind. Kyle, our Youth Leader, has connected with our youth and has great promise. And our Nursery Attendants, Kathy and Kris, have been Godsends. What endears me most about our staff is that they love our church and it shows.
If I were to start expressing appreciation for members who’ve been special to me over the years, it would be a long list. Each of you, whether we’ve known each other for a long or short time, have been special to me in your own way. But let me say that I am very grateful for those of you who have accepted positions of leadership while I’ve been here. Your love and commitment for our church has made us a better people and has often made me look good in the process. Where would we be without those who are willing to accept the call to lead and serve in the church?
While I believe in my heart that my choice to move to a new congregation and soon marry is the Lord’s path for me, it is bittersweet. But, this only reminds me of what a meaningful and wonderful experience I have had here: how much I have felt loved. I will always have a special place in my heart for the folks at Lincoln Park.
A forewarning: I imagine several of you will be showing up in my future newsletter articles. If you do, please know that it will be with love.