Somebody must have counted. Don’t know who. What they figured was Egyptians have fifty words for sand and Eskimos a hundred words for snow. Such a tally doesn’t even begin to count the number of words for thanks I have to each of you for allowing me to serve as pastor for so many years at The Church Within. The cake—for that ‘Yvonne, sit down and shut up’ celebration Sunday said, ‘What A Wild Ride.’ And it was—the whole 45 years of my ministry – especially the last 12 we shared with you. I say ‘we’, because the words and music that very special day seemed, appropriately, to offer as much ‘Cal’ as ‘Von.’ And it is Cal and Von who were so glad to serve, and to be in folding chairs now—volunteering as so many of you regularly do—signing those clipboards that are passed most Sundays. Our focus will be the Theatre, HIV, passing the Marriage Amendment, caring as church members with you, and supporting Rev. Richard Brendan, the pastor of our church, and the other leaders and volunteers who assure its on-going ministry. The last ‘many weeks’ before the decision for this next chapter of ordained leadership was made, you heard me invite you over and over to get acquainted with the two excellent candidates before the Board, so you’d discover you’d be well led following the Board’s vote. How did I know that? One of them I knew well and had watched become a church leader in every way. The other I knew was the same – because of my trust in the Search Committee’s diligent, prayer-filled work and the integrity, spirit, and calling of the Church Board. How could it, then, be otherwise? Our ‘folding chair’ experience the last two Sundays have proven this accurate. We are well led, as Rev. Richard has assumed this chapter of the church’s leadership, and Rev. Chittick will well lead not only the Children’s Ministry but many other areas of who we are. And I will not be surprised when somewhere out there, a future page will turn and Darren’s chapter will begin. Now, we are all the church as together we serve, minister, care, and celebrate!
That google-plex number for which I’d have to reach, not for sand and snow– but for ‘thanks to you’ – is our general thanks for Cal’s and my opportunity in and through the church. It is then gloriously symbolized by our great thanks for what happened this past Sunday Evening. Most of you know the church, with special focus of the Board and those who made this organized ‘Von and Cal’ gala possible, conspired-up ‘puppy care’, a limo, St. Elmo’s, and McCartney!!!!! The limo arrived in our drive-way. Such a hoot! I felt as if I were playing ‘Barbie’s’, except this limo was black, not pink! St. Elmo’s great food and horseradish-shrimp cocktail fire was only surpassed by the fire of the concert!! Picked up again at the restaurant and delivered to Banker’s Life, we were met by church photographers, Mike Walker and Scot McKim. And there we were, under Sir Paul’s billboard draw of the evening. I literally left all decorum in the limo, to pick it up again after the concert, and I spent the next three hours screaming, waving, yelling and swaying!! Cal? He says it was a wonderful concert. And the man knows music. All music. For me, it was ‘all music’ that night. The seats couldn’t have been better, my own photos prove that. The set list included so many of my favorites since the 7 th grade. Not all though. ‘Fine Line’ was not among them, so it remains ‘Donnie and Von’s’ song. Though, the lineup certainly proved Spradlin, Collins, Jourdan, and Meek do McCartney right! And in the darkness, towards the last, the song began. Having my IPhone ‘Match App’ at hand, I did what I’d been waiting to do all my life—‘Hey Jude’. I know of no other way to say my thanks and ‘good bye’ in this last ‘from Yvonne’ than to add to my usually ending—
Blessing and Peace,