What a Privilege! By Doug Meister

What a Privilege! By Doug Meister

As I look around my office, I am reminded of so many things that still need attention before the 30th. Not just packing up of books to carry up the road to Bluffton University, but the mementos which seem to be everywhere on the shelves after the books are gone. And that brings make the memories of the people involved in each one. It is a bittersweet time for me, personally.

I have been privileged to serve in the same church for over 25 years, something not ministers experience. Together, we have welcomed new-born members into the community of faith; we have gathered to watch them make confessions of faith and receives the waters of baptism; we have watched them graduate from preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school; we have watched them grow into fine, upstanding adults; we have worried when they have struggled from time to time; we have celebrated their marriages and been saddened by their divorces; we have watched them become parents; we have celebrated the lives of parents, grandparents and church friends who have been reunited with the source of our being through death; and we have laughed together, cried together, prayed together, spent hours at the bedsides of our family and friends, and loved each other as only a family of faith can. There have been times when we disagreed about religion, doctrine, politics and Biblical interpretation, but we have tried (not always successfully) to be respectful of each person’s opinions and points of view. We have welcomed many new people into the family, lost a few to other places of worship and said goodbye to a fair number of “warm weather” seekers.

I will miss much of this, but it is time for you and I to look forward to new adventures, developing new relationships, and for you, new leadership. Several people have asked me what I am going to do when I retire. I have answered them with two thoughts: I will sleep in for a month and I will get up on a Sunday morning, go to the Five Star to buy a paper and then read it on the same Sunday! Diane and I do plan some travel this summer to visit friends out west as well as go to the genealogical library at Salt Lake City, Utah. We have a short trip planned for late August and a trip to Ohio for my 50th high school reunion. In September, 2020 we are planning to host a tour group to visit the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany which was first performed hundreds of years ago during the Black Plaque in Europe. On the way, we will visit Rome, Assisi, Florence, Pisa and Venice, Italy and following the play, finish the trip in Munich, Germany. If you would like to join us, let me know! And the adventures just keep coming!

I hope to see you in worship the next couple of Sundays and on the 30th for my last day as your pastor, teacher, confider, conspirator and friend. I will forever be grateful for our time together. Peace, Doug