To God Be the Glory
O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.
-Psalm 98:1 (NRSV)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As many of you have heard by now, I have resigned my position as Director of Worship and Arts. My last day worshiping with you will be June 19, and my last day at JCPC will be July 2, upon my return from Montreat.
I first worshiped in our lovely chapel on Sunday, July 3, 2005. In the ensuing eleven years of ministry, God has indeed done marvelous things in us and through us! Today's writing is intended to be a grateful reflection of our time together, giving thanks for each of you and for your spiritual gifts shared with glad hearts!
On that July Fourth weekend so many years ago, I visited the Church of the Hills (now JCPC) with my dear friend, Melanie Linder. She and I both felt an indwelling of the Holy Spirit that day, and we knew that God was calling us to serve in this place. At the invitation of Charlton Duncan, we joined a large group of fellow COH'ers later that evening for the Duluth fireworks display, and we were warmly welcomed by everyone. After having visited several other churches, Melanie and I knew we had found ourselves in the place just right, and thus began my season at COH/JCPC.
To the entire congregation, it has been an unbelievable blessing to share my days in fellowship with you! We have worshiped our Lord, studied scripture with discerning minds, and prayed together and for one another. We have enjoyed the gift of laughter, walking in sunshine; when the clouds have formed, we have offered a shoulder and carried each other's burdens. We have celebrated new life in our midst and mourned the loss of saints who have journeyed to God's celestial shores.
We have sold more pumpkins than any other church in Johns Creek! We have square danced, roasted marshmallows around bonfires, and consumed way too much pork for our own good at many a pig roast. We have offered gratitude for God's bounteous blessings around our Giving Thanks tables, and we have sung Christmas carols with senior citizens who knew the words from memory better than most of us!
We have celebrated our Presbyterian heritage with bagpipes, drums, and tartans; recounted the birth of Christ through Christmas Joy celebrations and the sweet voices of children; and remembered our Lord's final hours on this earth in the service of darkness known as Tenebrae. We have waved palm branches, sung hosannas, and delighted in the giggles of little ones as they hunted for candy-filled eggs. We have sung alleluias, giving thanks for our risen Lord, gathering in the early hours before dawn and culminating with the Hallelujah Chorus proclaiming the reign of Christ.
We have forged new paths for cancer patients to find hope through our wonderful CanCare ministry, and we have offered solace and comfort through the prayers of our Stephen Ministers. We have provided a place for healing for those who suffer from addiction, served meals to the homeless in our city, stocked shelves at Hands of Christ, and collected pennies for eye drops to prevent river blindness.
To the beloved musicians - singers, ringers, and instrumentalists - I cannot thank you enough for your countless dedicated hours of preparation to provide beautiful worship music through the years, not to mention the numerous volunteer hours behind the scenes.
To the worship team (and music ministry helpers), my gratitude cannot sufficiently be measured in comparison to the untold number of hours you have prepared for special worship services, communion, weddings, memorials/funerals, service flowers; created beautiful tapestry and banners to adorn our chapel walls; trained and scheduled acolytes, liturgists, ushers, and media personnel; supported and staffed the Pumpkin Patch with love; decorated the church for Advent and Holy Week, and prepared meals for Montreat conferences ... the list is long.
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. God has a plan for all people, and thus he provides cycles of life, each with its work for us to do. I believe God called me to the Church of the Hills in July 2005 with a plan and a purpose - plans to prosper me, my young children, and the worship and music ministry of this church. I do not yet know what God's plan is for the next season of my life, but I do know it is time to sing a new song and give thanks for the marvelous things God has done in our midst. To God be the glory!
I will be forever grateful to Dr. Larry Wood and the session of the church for giving me the opportunity to serve this congregation, and I hold many wonderful memories dear to my heart.
Prayer for Today
Almighty God, thank you for this amazing body of believers and for our season together. Amen!