…and Bless Some Other Folks, Too!

I know, I know. . . My office in the church is a bit messy. As someone told me recently, it looks “lived-in.” This makes sense if you consider how much I have “lived” at the church—most Sundays to Thursdays—for nearly eleven years. I have a variety of pieces of art on the walls of my office, but one piece of art was actually created right in our sanctuary.  

About eight or nine years ago, following a Sunday morning worship service, Mary Beth Dopfer approached me and handed me a picture that her daughter, Abby Dopfer, had drawn.  It was a picture of me – standing in the pulpit – with the Communion Table down below and the Hutchings pipe organ behind.  At the time, Abby was around ten years old.  The picture is drawn in pencil and colored with crayons, and it contains the words:

To:  John
From:  Abby

I love this picture!  Not only does it show the creativity of young Abby, applying her artistic skills during the worship service, but it shows me with a smile on my face.  I hope that this is how Abby (and all of the children of our church) sees me – as someone who seeks to represent a place where smiles are abundant.  To be clear, there are times at church when we talk about some serious things, and there are times when not everyone smiles, and that’s okay.  But I hope that all of God’s children – whether they are 6 months old all the way up to age 101 (the age of John Robinson, our oldest living member) – see this place as a friendly, welcoming, comforting, loving, empowering, and sending place in which we gather and from which we are sent out to offer God’s grace to all the world – a place that helps to put smiles on peoples’ faces.  

Abby Dopfer is about to be “sent” from this place.  She just graduated from High School, along with Addy Bunie, Dora Chen, Carter Murai, and several others.  Abby, who is the recipient of this year’s Deacons’ Scholarship, is headed off to Nazareth University in Rochester, NY.  She – and all of our graduates – are being held in the Light of our faithful prayers and deep hopes.  

Blessings to all of our graduates!

Grace and Peace,


PS – I am about to be away for two Sundays (6/16 and 6/23) – attending the Montreat Worship and Music Conference in Montreat, NC.  We have some excellent preachers from our own congregation lined up, as well as some excellent people who will be responding to any and all pastoral concerns.