God grant to you His grace, His peace, and His mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Thank God for the memory of you and keep you in my prayers.
It was a long time ago, late November 2007, when Bill Cook, Orlin Kueck and several other wonderful men came south to Chanute, to pack up my office, and move me into my office at Ascension. It was a cold, sunny day, but there was nothing but smiles among these men, and they made my burdens light. I never will forget that.
Over the years, I have been the benefactor of so many kindnesses and allowing for my many shortcomings. Like when I had the auto accident on my birthday in 2010. Several people told me to stop favoring my knee and walk for heaven’s sake!
Or when Jean’s father had his accident, and she would go periodically to him before he died. Or when he died, the leadership told me to go to South Dakota, and they would take care of Ascension while I was gone.
Or when you allowed me to spend one week a month, from February 2019 until June 2019, with my dying mom in St. Louis. And then again in November of the same year, when my dad began his downward spiral, until he died in late December of that year, you were so supportive of my family. Members of Ascension even travelled to St. Louis, both for mom’s funeral on June 30, and dad’s on February 16, 2022.
You were so kind and generous, even when I was messed up with medication, radiation, and fatigue. You deserve a younger, stronger, and healthier pastor, and even though you are patient with all my failures, I think that my taking leave of you is probably the best for you.
My prayer is that you are able to navigate through the vacancy with the characteristic patience and love that you have stored up. Please show that wonderful spirit of yours and know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers.
It is so very hard to leave the best church in the LCMS, and I am afraid that from now on, I probably will unfairly compare all other churches to you.
I could go on and on, but appreciation works both ways, and today it is Ascension Appreciation Day for me.
Jesus bless you all.