Too Good to be True
We have just returned from the most wonderful weekend with our church family in Jackson, MS. Covenant Presbyterian Church celebrated its 50th anniversary this past weekend with much visiting, remembering, food and a glorious worship service yesterday morning. I cannot begin to write how special everything was.
At the Friday night banquet we were seated with some who had served on staff together in the late eighties. Joe Rightmyer, former senior pastor, had driven over from Dallas with his wife and daughter; Bill Ballou, former youth director, came from Memphis with his wife and daughter; Kathy Kenne, former children's director, flew in from a mission trip in Kenya that afternoon and was perky and pretty as ever; Will Jones, former custodian and faithful follower of Jesus came with his son. Later we saw other former staff members--Stewart Edwards, now president of French Camp Academy and former youth director and Robyn Farber, former children's director and mother to three beautiful daughters, one of whom was there also. Sitting around that dinner table brought back lots of memories of sitting in staff meetings together long ago. Especially I remembered how energizing it was to be with Joe, Bill and Kathy at our afternoon chocolate seeking or yogurt craving outings to discuss upcoming ministry events. We planned and laughed and fed off each other. What a staff! What wonderful friends!
The Saturday luncheon provided opportunity to see more friends and to be brought up to date on some who could not be there and to be reminded of the history and ministry of the church through the years. I was given an opportunity to tell something of what has been going on with us in the years since we left "home." Being in front of people to speak is not difficult for me, but I'll have to say Saturday's remarks were the most difficult I've ever had to deliver. I was not prepared for the emotion that overwhelmed me when I stood at the podium and looked out into the faces of those who have nurtured both me and my family, who have encouraged and affirmed the ministry God has given me and who have literally shared most of my life. I was so scattered that the carefully thought out remarks disappeared.
We had been told that the sanctuary had a "new" look and that we wouldn't believe it. That was an understatement. I was amazed at the transformation and the beauty of the worship space.
Covenant has long been noted for the quality of its music ministry and yesterday's offering was wonderful. The angels in heaven were no doubt singing along! Again we saw friends who had not been present at other events. We were packed into a pew with special friends, son Tommy and grandson Jacob.
Tom and I stayed with special friends, Glen and Marilyn Graves and had such a good time relaxing and catching up. Saturday afternoon they took us on a tour of downtown Jackson so we could see recent developments and how the city has changed. Now, if the city would only resurface the streets!!! Saturday night we stayed in, enjoyed a tasty dinner that the Graves had waiting just in case we didn't want to go out and watched a little football. There is nothing like good friends, good food and the comfortable, sustaining feelings that come when being together.
Having Tommy and Jacob with us was a bonus. Tommy did all the driving and watched over Tom and me like the protector he is. They stayed with Liz's brother and his wife (who, incidentally, was Jacob's first and favorite babysitter) and three little boys. That gave them opportunity to visit with family and be part of the celebration as well. It was quite a weekend for us all!!
This morning the emotions are mixed. Memories of the weekend have my spirits lifted above the clouds. I am grateful for the blessings God has given us through the years, yet I miss being surrounded by the "cloud of witnesses" known as Covenant Presbyterian Church.