Monday, October 18, 2010

A Wonderful Surprise!

Yesterday afternoon, our wonderful Ladies' Guild pulled a fast one on me.  They hosted a Pastor Appreciation Dinner.  I knew they were doing that since, well, they told me they were doing so.  But, what I didn't know, and what they didn't tell me, was that this was not going to be just a Pastor Appreciation Dinner, but a belated Five-Year Anniversary Party at the same time.  And, what I also didn't know was that they had invited many special guests to attend this Party, including family members, members from the congregation where I served on vicarage (Immanuel, Frankentrost), and the brother pastors in our circuit. 

And so, when I walked into the fellowship hall and saw dear friends from my vicarage congregation sitting there, I was shocked, to say the least.  Then, as I was talking and catching up with them, I looked and saw several family members walking through the door and was all the more shocked, and a little overwhelmed with emotion (rumor has it that my eyes began to well up with moisture of some sort, but we know that can't be true, since I'm a confessional Lutheran and, thus, immune to feelings and emotions :).  Then, as I was hugging family members, they rolled out the cake, and Coaline, our Ladies' Guild president, explained that they had gathered everyone together not only to show me their appreciation, but to celebrate five years of being together at Peace.

During dinner, which was absolutely delicious, several people went to the podium they had set up to say a few words and present some gifts, including a beautiful custom-made picture album which contained several pictures from my ordination/installation and has room for many more pics (thanks, Sharyn!), a gift certificate for CM Almy (a church supply company) from our board of elders (thanks, guys!), a gift certificate for Lisa to spend at her favorite hair-styling salon from the Ladies' Guild (thanks, ladies!), and an awesome new MSU hoody from my family.  In addition, they had a card basket set up and it was a very humbling, but immensely enjoyable, experience to open those cards last night (thanks, everyone; I am truly blown away by your love and generosity!).  Also during the presentations, our Circuit Counselor, Pr. Paul Young, walked through the door, adding further to my surprise.  It was so good of him to make the trip over to extend his congratulations and join in the festivities (thanks, Paul!).

As I said yesterday, I thank God daily for bringing me to Peace and allowing me the privilege of serving among such a faithful, loving, and generous group of His dear children.  Yesterday was just another in a long list of reminders of how truly blessed this unworthy servant is to be serving this congregation.  I really do have to be one of the luckiest pastors around! 

I am still in awe of yesterday's wonderful surprise.  I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening with many family members and, living at a distance from them, I dearly cherish every such opportunity.  So, with all my heart, thank you to everyone who contributed to yesterday's festivities.  It was a wonderful surprise and a day I will never forget.  I love you all! 

Being in the state of shock I was in during the party, I took not a single picture. :(  But, Sharyn was kind enough to send me a few (including the pic of the cake above).  If anyone else has pics, please send them my way. 

The picture album made by Sharyn, with our congregation's seal/logo on the front - very cool!

Catching up with some dear friends

Amazed to be greeting family members at the door; my grandma and aunt getting a huge kick out of surprising me!


Logan said...

Congratulations Pastor! After reading your blog and seeing examples like this, I think everyday is pastor appreciation day at Peace.

What is the story behind the logo-I notice even coffee cups have the Peace Lutheran Church logo-about as cool as the Sparty being 7-0 and Michigan loosing again!

Please share the story (on the logo)

Rev. Thomas C. Messer, SSP said...

Thanks, Logan. I am truly blessed. And, yeah, Sparty improving to 7-0, coupled with another loss by that other team is very cool! :)

Peace's logo was designed by the sister of one of our parishioners during my first year at Peace. It was decided by our evangelism committee back then that it would be a cool thing to have a logo for our congregation with which we could identify and share our identity to others. And it has been a cool thing, indeed, as we have incorporated this logo into the life of our congregation, using it for our official letterhead, on informational brochures, newsletters, bulletins, promotional items (including coffee cups, various items of apparel, etc.), and we even had a stained glass window installed with the logo in it, which turned out beautiful.

The symbolism of the logo is pretty straight-forward: The white dove shown descending in the background symbolizes the Holy Spirit, Who points us to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His salvific work for us (symbolized by the black cross, front and center - black being used to symbolize our sins, for which He died); the gold ring is a symbol of the Unity of the Holy Trinity, and the red background symbolizes the Blood our Lord shed for us. Taken all together, the logo depicts for us how it is that we have Peace with God, which fits very well with our congregation's name.

Hope that helps.