Love Letter to a Church
Back in October, the church collected gifts for us for Pastor Appreciation Month to go toward a future family vacation. If they had not done this (or if the gift had not been so generous) we would never have piled into the van and headed south.
My brother, Joshua Tate, and his family live in Lake City, Florida, where he pastors the Lulu Advent Christian Church. Josh and Sarah have five children and we brought four children with us. It was a lot of Tates in one place, let me tell you. There was laughter, mischief, and the magic of cousin friendships quickly kindled.
The Squalor Express
But let me tell you something about the ride back north. None of us were reluctant to return to Vermont, exactly. In fact, we were eager to be home. It was just that none of us were excited about what it would take to get here. I came down with a fever on our last day in Florida which made me a poor travel companion, I’m afraid.
There comes a point in every road trip when all of the car’s inmates collectively resign themselves to the swelling filth of their shared experience. This point came pretty early on the first of our two days of northward driving. None of the minivan’s doors could be opened without trash spilling out. We scooped it up and tossed it back in. The designated “trash” bag being full and inadequate to the task, we settled for tossing wrappers and apple cores in its general direction and hoped for the best.
And yet, for all that, we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. We savored our recent time in Florida and thought about Vermont with pleasant anticipation as we hurtled over the interstate. It was a wonderful trip.
Four Thoughts From The Pastor
I’d like to quickly share a few thoughts with you all about this trip.
First, it means a lot to me that the Pastoral Appreciation gift was a gift to the pastoral family. The families of pastors make a lot of sacrifices for the ministry that no one ever knows about and they get less of the rewards than the pastor does. And my family in particular is very involved in the ministry of the church. As a pastor’s kid myself, I don’t remember the church of my upbringing ever indicating appreciation to my father’s family. This means a lot.
Second, it was a very generous gift. And it wasn’t just the amount that made it generous: I really appreciate that it came with a suggestion about how we might use it, and nothing else.
Third, we have a great team. That the pastor can be absent for two consecutive Sundays without the church missing a beat, is great for his peace of mind and terrible for the size of his ego. Both are good things.
Fourth, absence really does make the heart grow fonder. There is nowhere else I would rather be on Sunday morning, and no one else I would rather be with.
Thank you, again, Furnace Brook, for making it possible for us to do this. God bless you all.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog