In Gratitude

light on treeThis week has been a great week.  This week has also been a hard week.  Today was my final Sunday at the church I have served on staff for a little over the past 3 years.  I started there as Music Ministry Coordinator and within a year was the Worship Coordinator.  This was the fourth Advent and Christmas season I helped guide the congregation through.  It was also the fourth Advent and Christmas seasons which I helped lead the choir during. Today, the congregation shared their appreciation with a wonderful brunch between services and sending within the final portion of both worship services.  It was moving.  It was emotional. It was special, and I am humbled and honored.

I have loved this congregation and the people in it, and I have been loved by them.  I love this congregation, and am loved by the congregation.  I have loved serving with the staff and other leaders (both past and present- and especially both of the pastors I have served with while there). This was not an easy thing to do, to leave this congregation. But in my own discernment, in my own family situation, it was time.  It doesn’t make it easy though, because I have loved this role and these people.  I have loved serving as part of this community, and I believe they have loved me as well.  I felt the love today, as on most days, but today especially with the wonderful brunch and the moving sending.

The Choir
The Choir

The choir surprised me.  I have to admit this. I thought I had directed them for the last time on Christmas Eve.  Little did I know, and perhaps I should have expected it, that they were up to something.  Apparently they have been rehearsing without me the past couple weeks.  This just goes to show that they are in good hands and will be just fine without me. : )  We had our choir party this weekend, and I still didn’t know that they were up to something.  The choir humbled me with their friendship and love at the party, but then this morning in worship, they got me. They got me good.  Not only did they pull out one of the favorite pieces the choir has done in my time there “Be Not Afraid” by Craig Courtney, they asked me to direct them.  That was special.  They sang beautifully. But then, there was more. After the sending in the service they sang an original arrangement of Psalm 46 which Tom, the main pianist for the congregation and music extraordinaire had written and arranged for choir dedicated to me. That got me. I was balling.  Tom is an amazing man, friend, and an amazing musician and so is his wife Mary. The two of them have been right there supporting my wife Allison and me at every step, and its been so much fun to lead music together with them these past 3+ years. I hope we will be able to collaborate more together from time to time into the future.  Anyway, to make a long story short, the choir which I didn’t imagine 4 years ago I would ever direct, made me cry today. I honestly don’t cry much, and certainly not in public. So, I am grateful.

Looking out from my church office
Looking out from my church office

Today, all I can say is thank you and I will miss this congregation.  I leave them, at least in this role, but I do not leave them as someone who is turning his back. I will come back and visit. I will stay in touch, because this community of faith is special to me. It was the first place that embraced Allison and I as a couple and family.  We are known as the “Siburgs” here and that’s something no other place referred to us as until we were here in Minnesota.  I have grown tremendously as a part and member of this community. My biggest hope is that I leave them as a better congregation then how I joined them, I hope my being there has had a positive impact. I know God is up to something with this congregation and I look forward to seeing what that is.  I also look forward to seeing what my next chapter will involve.  Prayers and opportunities are all appreciated.

Thank you for all of your love and support. Thank you for letting me join you as a partner in ministry alongside you. You have left me humbled and honored.  I feel blessed and am blessed to have been able to be a part of this community.  I hope the same can be said of the community about me, and I trust that whatever is next for both me and the congregation will be exciting and wonderful new chapters.

Image Credit:  Light on Tree

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