“Our Church family is constantly changing.
People come and go.
Babies are born.
Children grow up.
People commit themselves to one another.
Loved ones and friends among us
come to the end of their lives.
Individuals move into our community and church life.
Others leave us, moving to new places,
new experiences, and new opportunities…”
These words from the UCC’s Book of Worship remind us to take notice and to give thanks. At Old First, Michael has been trying to institute a ritual when someone is taking leave of us, for an extended time away or for longer. We ask them to come up to the front of the church at the end of our worship, that we might send them off with our blessing.
This Sunday will be the last Sunday that the Shaughnessys– Drew, Lisa and Adam– will be among us. Adam, having finished his Nurse Anesthetist degree in Philadelphia has gotten a job back in Maryland where they came from. They now return to their home, community and former church.
It’s a reminder of what Bob Schneider reminds us: “A church like Old First, downtown in a major city… often some of our very important ministry is to people who we know will soon leave us. And that doesn’t make it any less important, or mean that there’s anything wrong…” In fact, it sometimes occurs to Michael, that makes our time together more sacred. This Sunday, it will certainly the Benediction Response “God Be with You, Until We Meet Again” even more special.
Join us as we thank God and the Shaughnessys for their time among us, and bless them on their return home.
Making that good-bye a bit easier (if such things are possible), or just illustrating the ever-changing nature of a church community, we will welcome someone new this Sunday. Well, not completely new! Noelle Hofmann, the daughter of Nicole and George, will be baptized in worship on Sunday. Rev. Brad Krick, a personal friend of the Hofmanns and the UCC pastor (from Lakeview Congregational UCC in Tacoma, Washington) who married them will be our guest pastor for the baptism. The Hoffmanns contacted Michael about Brad and the baptism this Spring and have been worshiping with us since.
And, rumor has it, a whole lot of the Hofmann’s family will also be our guests. So join us to welcome Noelle and to help the this week’s Hospitality Team welcome everyone else.