06 Jan Transitions, Transitions
Without a doubt, this is not the blog I had intended to compose to kick-start 2021. Marcelo’s unexpected death yesterday has left a gaping hole, and it will take time for me to come to terms with it, both personally and from the perspective of the church. For those of you who are newer to Calvary or who might not have had the privilege of knowing Marcelo, he was our number one “go-to” guy for so, so many things around the church. From mowing the grass and cleaning out the gutters to fixing the front doorbell (which seems to love to go out); from painting my office to waxing the floors; from building shelves for the Eagles Wings’ room to repairing more parts of this building than anyone can remember, let alone name. But far more importantly, everything Marcelo did he did with the gracious gentleness, faithfulness, and good humor that were hallmarks of his life. He loved God, he loved his family, and he loved Torre Fuerte and Calvary. He had a thousand-watt smile. He was as reliable, trustworthy, and steady as the rising sun. He will be deeply and profoundly missed.
On Tuesday, January 12, from 9-11:00 a.m., Marcelo’s family and the Torre Fuerte leadership will be gathered to receive those who wish to pay their respects. Please check today’s e-letter for the address and other logistical details. Calvary members are warmly welcome, but please be prepared to wait in your vehicle temporarily if the 25-person limit has been reached when you arrive. For those unable to attend, let us surround the entire Torre Fuerte community with our love and prayers, as they grieve a man who was a rock-solid pillar of their church.
Many people are already asking what we can do to support Maria and their children. If you would like to provide a gift to Marcelo’s family, contributions can be made to Calvary with “Good Samaritan Fund—Marcelo” in the memo line and we will ensure that Maria receives it.
Perhaps “transition” is the theme of the week. Marcelo has transitioned to the Church Triumphant. We have transitioned to a new year, though our celebrations were understandably and appropriately muted. Some of our “littles” have recently made special transitions, with Miss Serafina turning one year old and Miss Gabby turning two in December! The Jelsmas are anticipating a major transition, but as of this writing, Baby Jelsma is making everyone wait.
We will ordain new elders on Sunday (virtually!), and that is always a significant transition in the life of the church. I want to thank Rose Karikari and Gabriel Mayeden for their faithful service to this church over the past three years. They have been a delight to work with and have been valued members of the Session. We welcome Charles Frempong and Glenn Fahrig as new elders and after serving the past year and a half, Elder Erika Rissi has graciously agreed to extend her time as Property Chair by a full term. Charles will take over as the chair of the Worship Team, and Glenn will oversee the Congregational Care team. Folks, we are in good hands, and I am grateful.
One final transition to note falls back on the sad side of the ledger. After twenty years of being part of Calvary in just about every way possible, Frank and Alice Miller have recently moved to a suburb outside Philadelphia where they are within an easy half-hour drive of their grandsons. The Millers’ fingerprints are all over Calvary. They have served numerous terms as elders, with Frank also serving as the Clerk of Session. Alice was the co-coordinator of Eagles’ Wings for a decade and tutored for several additional years. She is one of Calvary’s extraordinary chefs and coffee hour will not be the same without her buffalo dip. ? She has been a faithful member of the choir for years, while Frank’s passion for worship meant that a sharp eye was always making sure that Sunday mornings ran smoothly. On a personal note, Frank was the Chair of the Pastor Nominating Committee that interviewed and hired me nearly nine years ago, so he is, in large part, directly responsible for me being at Calvary. (Now you know who to blame!!) It will indeed be strange to walk into worship (yes, it’s coming!) and Alice won’t be in the choir loft and Frank won’t be in his regular seat. But they have promised to “come home” from time to time, and I will be holding their feet to the fire on that. Thank you, Frank and Alice, for all the love and grace you have poured into this place and into these people.
Friends, we are in God’s hands, and God will lead us as we move into whatever new transitions are coming our way.
Yours for the Kingdom,