It’s time to say, “Cheers!”
Kathi and I enjoyed taking our then two younger sons to wedding receptions. They were fascinated with the clinking of the glass ritual. They would snicker and giggle with red-faced embarrassment as a round of clinking started, and the groom passionately and effusively kissed the bride to the woos of the crowd. As we were leaving one
reception, our youngest said, “Dad, they kissed 17 times,” but who is counting.
But there is another ritual, the raising of a glass to toast or honor a person with hails of cheers. It’s a great moment of jubilation as the community acknowledges those who have been a blessing. Yes, it is time for me to say cheers. I always knew that my appointment at Suamico was from October to June. A new pastor has been appointed so I must gather my tools, robes, stoles and bible, and head back to retirement--poor me!
But first I want to raise my glass and say cheers to those who welcomed us to Suamico. Some have expressed appreciation that I took this appointment while in retirement, and we're thankful that I helped out. I appreciate the kindness shown us, the consideration given, and the blessings mutually shared. So much goodness, love and enjoyment have been transacted that I can only raise my glass and say cheers to you, the congregation.
Thank you to those who worshiped faithfully, with masks or without. Some distanced themselves in the pews but worship they did. Recognizing faces and putting names to those faces became a pastime; remember you have only my name to remember but I had all your names to recall. Your intentional efforts to be in worship regularly are a blessing to any pastor’s soul. But it was not that you were just pew-warmers; you also were singers, prayers, givers, and responders, which blesses God with our faithfulness. To you, one and all, I raise my glass and say cheers!
There are those involved in the life of the church serving in different ministry capacities on committees and teams, singing in choirs, making music for us, gathering our children in Faith Finders, attending to the building, selling the parsonage, serving at fellowship hour, shoveling snow, hosting Seasoned Seniors, and preparing and selling Booyah. Then there are those who are reaching out to care for the needy, sewing to meet their needs, or offering funds to make life a bit more comfortable for them. To you, I raise my glass and say cheers!
Suamico has a significant presence through technology. A lot of thought has gone into this ministry. Skills have been garnered. Resources have been raised. Camera and sound techs, as well as clickers, have been recruited, trained and scheduled. Look after them, and appreciate them for they, like all other servers have been a blessing. To you, I raise my glass and say cheers!
I celebrate you and thank you. Now ready yourselves for your new pastor; it should be a blessed season.
Graham N. West, pastor