I am blessed.. I am so grateful for so many things.
Today I want to say thank you to those who have taught me the faith, and those that continue to teach me the faith. I am thankful for my friends, my classmates, my family, my church, and those churches that have nurtured me
I want to take this opportunity to thank some people in my life who have been my pastor…
I really appreciate the love and care that I received growing up in the church, being taught, loved for who I was, the fun, the challenges, and the love. My parents made sure we were always there, many times being the last to leave… But it taught me so much and I am grateful to so many people.
I remember Rev.Gantt and Dr. Tuck as some of the earliest pastors in my life that weren’t my dad. Rev. Gantt had kids my age, and so we did lots together as families. Michelle, their oldest and Cindy and I all went to church camp togetherfor the first time. Dr. Tuck had older kids, and so they became our babysitter. Both knew my name, and I am thankful for them.
Dr. Reuben Sheares was another person who was a pastor to me. Reuben worked for OCLL,Office for Church Life and Leadership, in the old structure. Reuben ordained me. I really appreciated Reuben; he would talk to me as an adult when I was in high school. He seemed to really care about me and what was important to me.
In seminary, there were many that at some point were my pastor, from my classmates to the professors. They are numerous, some who continue to offer me pastoral support are John Dorhauer, Deb Krause, Don Wagner, Kurt Schaller Blaufuss. I would trust them with all that I am. We continue to minister to each other, when we are in need. We share the joys and sorrows that our lives hold. The professors also have inspired me, in my thinking and in the challenges that I am called to share as a pastor and teacher.
The Rev. Stephanie Weiner, is my mentor, pastor and friend. She was my supervising pastor in seminary. She taught me much and continues to teach me. I am so thankful and grateful for the gifts she has and the ones she helped me to see in myself. I would not be who I am today, as an ordained pastor, had we not argued, discussed, grown, been challenged, loved and shared together.
Throughout my life and ministry, there have been many Association ministers, Conference ministers, and Denominational ministers who have also been my pastor. Some that minister to me now, are Phil Hart, Janine Wilson and Jill Glass. I am thankful for the pastors that they are and the pastors that they are to me.
When my mom died, and every time my dad has been in the hospital there are many many folks, both ordained and lay folks that have ministered to me, in person, by Facebook, a phone call. What an incredible blessing this is. The experience of love expressed is so very wonderful.
I have been in pastoral groups that minister as well. My pastoral excellence group and the progressive clergy group I am have offered me support and a pastoral presence when I needed it. I am grateful for these colleagues and friends.
Growing up in the family that I did, I learned at a very early age that pastors are human, they are people. They need people who are friends, and confidants just like everyone else. They do things right, they raise children,their children make mistakes, they make mistakes, they apologize. God forgives. They stand up for what is right. They have favorite foods and drinks. They need to time off and time of renewal. They also are there when you call. I am so thankful for the pastors in my life.
My friends, my colleagues, my family, my church family, my classmates and teachers from Heidelberg University, Eden Theological Seminary… what blessings you all are… thank you.