A Message from Ellen 7-3-18
July 3, 2018
I want to say “Thank you!”
I know that gratitude is one of the results of claiming and receiving God’s Grace. And I know that I don’t stop often enough to say “Thank you!” to people through whom God works.
First, I want to say thank you to Beverly Salley. As many of you know, Beverly has told us that after forty-five years as the organist at Forest Lake, she is ready to retire. She planted the seeds that developed into the organ fund, that eventually allowed us to purchase a new pipe organ, and so it was appropriate and just that she should be the first one to play our new Casavant Pipe Organ. But, while you see Beverly on Sunday mornings, what you may or may not see are the hours of practice time that she puts in during the week to be ready to play on Sundays. What you may or may not see is how flexible she has to be to respond to last-minute requests for funerals and to plan her family’s schedule around church weddings. It has been her faithfulness and flexibility that have – very quietly and without fanfare – provided a stable base for the music that undergirds our worship of all sorts. Beverly’s last Sunday as our organist will be August 12th (on purpose this is the last Sunday before we return to two services for the fall). Following worship, we will have a simple reception to allow everyone a formal opportunity to join in saying “Thank you!” to Beverly. And, if you wish you may contribute to a gift that the church and congregation will give to Beverly. You can do this by sending a check to the church marked “For Beverly Salley”. However you do it, please make time to tell Beverly what her leadership has meant for your worship life at Forest Lake.
Second, I want to say thank you to Treva Miles. Forest Lake Presbyterian has a very active library at our core. And Treva has served as our volunteer librarian for years! She and a core group of very dedicated volunteers [Harriett Sifford, Lynn Whiteside, Ann Elsenheimer, and others over the years] keep the Library an active resource for growth in faith and in community in this church. Treva has also told us that she needs to retire.
While I am grateful to both Beverly and Treva and so many like them, I am also grateful to be in a community that makes room for people to change and to ask for what they need. I do not want service in the life of the church ever to be a life-long sentence from which one may never retire. Service that is not joyful or willing is an impediment to growth in faith. So, Beverly’s retirement and Treva’s request to step back are healthy and right. And it is time to tell them how very much we appreciate their quiet, behind the scenes leadership.
So much of following Jesus is like that. Maybe that is why it can be hard to let people retire. It is hard to find people mature enough in their faith to serve quietly and without fanfare or public appreciation. But the goal is to continue to grow and to serve, in whatever ways we can, not because we get a lot of public strokes, but because God gave us gifts to serve and so we do. I am grateful for so many of you, and especially today for Beverly and Treva, who give us such good examples of what it means to serve Christ in our everyday lives.
Ellen F. Skidmore