Friday, June 22, 2012

At Ridgeville Corners on August 1, 1922
Born to Alfred and Matilda, a boy baby.
On August 20, 1922, baptized and made new
Destined to be a pastor, just maybe.

Confirmed on March 16, 1936
Then from the farm to the city and Capital University
Where a South Dakota girl was part of the mix,
Who would stand by him through all adversity.

A visit to Princeton Seminary was all it took
For Don to propose and Arlo said, “Yes!”
On June 26, 1948—Arlo took to becoming Don’s cook
And his partner in ministry would be the real test.

A first call to the far country of Montpelier, Ohio
On the yearly salary of 2,400 dollars
A son Peter born living in style
And learning what it means to wear those collars.

In 1954 to Parma Heights Pastor Don arrives
To stay three decades preaching and teaching
A building goes up as the community thrives.
A cross into the sky is reaching.

Rebecca, Rachel, and Nathan are a blessing
Giving always the gift of love
Especially when the children aren’t always meshing
Descending upon us, His dove.

In the 60’s and 70’s, baby boomers fill the pew.
Children growing in that 70’s show
Parents struggling, searching for a clue
Arriving at Divinity with children in tow.

Women now from the pulpit preach
Lutherans and Catholics marry everyday
To the sick and homeless outward to reach
Divinity is here to stay.

Grandchildren and retirement come all too soon
But grand-parenting, golfing, and walking
Keep the mind and body in tune,
Until that day when 90 comes stalking.

God bless Pastor Don and all who turn 90 this year
As we continue this journey from darkness to light
Through the valley we walk with no fear.
With wings like an eagle God lifts us in flight.

Note:  This poem was written by Pastor Doug in honor of Pastor Don and all who turn 90 this year.  We will be celebrating their birthdays on August 5.
June Message from Pastor Doug        

This past weekend we confirmed six young men whose faith statements people are still talking about. We take pride in the faith foundation Divinity provides for our youth.
In the end, there is much we older folk can learn from our teenagers. After having read from all 6 faith statements, 3 times during each worship service, there was one paragraph that I continue to think about that was written by Sam Smith…

Now the Lord came and stood there calling as before. "Samuel! Samuel!" and Samuel said, "Speak for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:10 This Bible verse means a lot to me because Samuel answers God by saying, "Speak for your servant is listening." This verse is great be-cause Samuel is telling God that he is God’s servant and that he is ready to do any deed God wants him to do. We are all servants of God. At points in everybody’s life God calls us out to do a deed. Sometimes it’s things we want to do and sometimes it’s things we may not want to do or think we can’t do. He knows we can do it. An example of when I was called to do a deed was at my uncle’s funeral. I was asked to acolyte. At first I answered yes very quickly. The more I thought about it, the more I kept saying "no". I was nervous because there were so many pas-tors at the funeral. I had to carry the cross and lead them down the aisle. In the end I did just fine.

Yes, we are all servants of God. Yes, "God calls us out to do a deed." It’s great if it’s some-thing we want to do. But what if we don’t want to do it or think we can’t do it?

What is God calling you out to do? Are you saying "yes" or are you coming up with excuses?

When I arrived nine years ago, nobody wanted to coordinate our Sunday morning nursery until we started talking about paying someone. Thinking that a ridiculous idea, Karen Hearld stepped up and has been filling that role ever since. Now she’s ready to hand off that ministry to one of you. Is God calling you out?

For the last 3½ years, Laura Ramsey has been fulfilling her calling as our youth minister. Our teenagers have appreciated her love and com-mitment to them. Our prayers are with Laura as she prepares for the coming of her son and her family’s move to the farm.

Our Divinity leadership are thinking outside the box. With Laura’s departure, is God calling us out in a new direction in how we do our minis-try? Like Sam Smith leading the pastors down the aisle, are we open to doing something we haven’t done before?

We’re continuing our "new" relationship with the YMCA with a busy summer of day care and summer camp. We continue our tradition of staffing Vacation Bible School at Divinity and a week of V.B.S. at Redeemer Crisis Center. This fall, we’re hoping to welcome a private high school who will rent 4 rooms on the older kids Sunday School wing. With 3 very active A.A. groups and our own ministry groups and Bible studies gathering, we’re getting to the point where every wing will be busy most days of the week, daytime and at night.

Is God calling you out? If not, you’re not listening. When God calls out Samuel, he responds, "Speak for your servant is listening." Both as a congregation and as individu-als, we need to be listening for God’s di-rection. God has truly blessed Divinity with gifted teenagers, a committed seminarian, and scores of volunteers sharing your time, talents, and money to support our ministry together. I’m confident that God will continue to bless us on our journey together.