Thanking My Congregation
Yesterday, I spoke to our church at the 10th anniversary party. This is the text of my speech. On this, our 10th Anniversary, on behalf of Church of the Redeemer, I would like to say "thank you."
First and last, to the Lord. Only in him, through him, by him, and with him could we ever have done any good thing. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
I'd like to thank every member of Church of the Redeemer, both the present members and the past. Thank you for the part that you have played in making this such a special community. Thank you especially to the Charter Members, those who joined us when there was no Church of the Redeemer. You took a bold step, standing together to form a new parish. Thank you for your love, your prayers, and your courage.
I'd like to thank every volunteer. You have arranged flowers, poured coffee, played music, taught children, served at the altar, visited the sick, cared for the lonely, and so many, many other things. I thank you, deeply and sincerely for ever minute you have given to the Lord and to this church.
I'd like to thank everyone who has worked as part-time staff, especially Barclay Dwight, Betty Mullens, Adam Kriese, Cody Spriggs, Chris Stewart, Sharon Stewart, Joy Pratt, Dara Pent, Barbara Nash, Oz Davis, Jason Smith, Patrick Black, and Karin Simmons.
I'd like to recognize those from our congregation who have been ordained and continue to faithfully serve: Kenny Benge, Danny Bryant, Amanda Goin, Justin Hogg, Jenna Martin, Tom Russell, Jonathan Warren, and Tish Warren.
I'd like to recognize and thank those who have served with me as pastors of our church: Kenny Benge, Danny Bryant, Amanda Goin, Ian Kern, Susan Kimbro, Jenna Martin, Chance Perdue, Grace Spriggs.
Finally, I want to do something dangerous. I want to single out some specific volunteers. Even though it is dangerous, I feel that these few deserve special recognition.
(This is dangerous because I will, I am sure, hurt someone's feelings. Someone will say "I worked just as hard as that person, and he didn't recognize my efforts." If you are that someone, let me say this. I do recognize your efforts, and I do thank you. I considered many people for this list, but I felt the need to limit it. Please know that you are important to this congregation, and I don't mean to make you feel otherwise).
- Posthumously, I honor Tom and M.E. Seckman, for their leadership, their prayers, their love and their devotion.
- Sylvia Philips, for her work as leader of Altar Guild, her outreach to the poor, and for teaching Sunday School.
- Mary Lee Bowen, our most gracious prayer warrior.
- Barbara Weigle, for her tireless work in mission, especially with F.A.M. and the St. Francis Festival.
- Pat and Joyce Shepard, for their leadership as elders, their effort in missions, Joyce's eye for interiors, and Pat's hard work in caring for our facility.
- Robert and Barbara Uskavitch, for kneeling in the dirt most every week for years, turning the front of our church into a beautiful garden.
- Linda Shepherd, for being the hardest working treasurer the world may ever know, and for her work in missions.
- Jane Griffin, for her selfless commitment to the grounds of our church, and for many other areas of service.
- David Uskavitch, for leading the Elders through our most difficult times, and for his work as Usher Number One.
- Debbie Taylor, who has made this place beautiful, and has carried that beauty into her work in missions.
- John and Susan Eames, for building community, for reaching out to the young, and for consistently serving wherever and whenever called.
- Jack Haynes, for his leadership, his service to youth, and his commitment to missions.
- Pat Hicks, for her prayers, her ministry, and her leadership.
- Kate Davis, for feeding us 1000 times, and for her commitment to mission and outreach.
- Linda Thoel, for her leadership, ministry to women and Primetimers, and her ministry of prayer.
- Jim and Lynn Perry, for their leadership and prayers, for Jim's work on our facility, his guidance of the LEMs and the Lay Readers, and Lynn's service in hospitality and Sunday School.
Finally, I'd like to honor the hesitant, the forgetful, and the once-in-a-while attendees. I'd like to honor the ones who may have left our church with anger or resentment. I'd like to honor our enemies, the few who have lied about us or wished us ill. I'd like to honor the poor, the atheistic, the unrepentant, the criminal, the broken, and those who think they would never darken the door of any church. I honor you, and I thank God for you, because you are the beloved children of our Father, you are the ones for whom Christ died, and you are those the Spirit is sending us to love and to welcome. Without you, we would have no reason to exist.
Many blessings to you all,
The Reverend Thomas McKenzie, your pastor.