To be recognized today along with other 50 years or more members caused me to first exclaim – WOW! 50 years! – that’s a long time for anything!! And then to think back to the Spring of 1962. I was a relatively new Christian and husband Dave and his family, being unhappy at their present church, decided we needed to leave and search for a spiritual home that would better serve our needs.
Mom and Pop Butz, my inlaws, were the first to visit Federated, and suggested – well, insisted – that Dave and I and our enfant son, visit as well. After a fashion, we did visit and were immediately embraced by a smiling, faith community – we felt at home here and in the Fall of that year, all of us transferred our memberships. And – here were are, Dave and I, today. God nudged, God knew: we are so grateful!
Over the years we have seen, of course, many changes – a big new addition, which included this sanctuary; remodeled areas of the building, installation of an elevator, the Family Life Center with the Norling Memorial Gardens and Labyrinth – just to name a few.
However, in addition to the bricks and mortar, Dave and I have been blest to be able to become active in the life of this church; it’s many life-giving ministries and life-changing programs, the committees, and even the awesome experience of teaching in the Sunday School. The presence of the members of the clergy have been such a big part of our lives: truly God’s messengers. All the while, God’s presence, in the midst of it all – urging us, encouraging us, stretching us –loving us.
As our family grew, our four children found a life-sustaining, relevant spiritual home here. All were baptized and confirmed here and three of the four were married here in this sanctuary – two of those three being our sons. I could see during the youthful and sometimes challenging teenage years how this church feed their spirits and aided in forming them into the deeply, faith-filled adults they are today. As a mom, my heart is filled with such gratitude.
So, here I am today, and along with my dear husband, at this milestone of our church. Since I often refer to this as the twilight of my life, I felt strongly that now was the time in my faith journey that I needed to just contently sit back as just –a- member, to observe and absorb all the gifts that this wonderful church has to offer.
But, no, God in His infinite wisdom, had other plans for me. Upon our return this April from wintering in FL, I found it impossible to ignore the urging – Gods nudging and midnight poking – that I needed to find a way to begin and/or expand a praying ministry here at Federated.
“Why me? Why now?”, I asked. And after a good bit of praying and even more questioning, God in His mysteriously, wonderful way put just the needed church members and staff in my pathway, people who acknowledged my idea and intent and encouraged me. And here today, I am so excited to be experiencing the beginning of our Prayer and Praise Ministry. It is my pray that this ministry will bring all of us even closer to our God and to each other. This ministry’s members will honor all prayers placed in the Prayer Boxes located in the Narthex and Angel Desk each Sunday and offer up each request to our Lord during that week. If you would like to join in praying with us or have any questions, please talk to me about it.
I thank you, Federated Church, my church, and all of you, my Federated family – clergy and members - and above all , thank you Lord, for leading all of us Butz’s to this Your church 50 years ago. A place where I, with all of my imperfections, can be spiritually feed, guided, supported, encouraged and loved. I am so grateful.
Please join me in prayer:
On this day, Father’s Day, may we be mindful that You are the Father of us all and we are your beloved children; this knowing is just one of the wonderful miracles of your grace.
You know all about us, You see all that we do and yet, You still love us.
Some of us come to You today with burdens of grief, wounds, confusion, pain; may your comfort and assurance surround us. Some of us come to You filled with joy and thanksgiving; may You receive songs of praise, love and glory.
Dear Jesus, help all of us to open up – to open up willingly those dark corners of our hearts so that Your light and love can dwell within; and may that light and love spread into the hearts of—our families and out into our community, throughout our country and into our world.
May we continually be aware of - that still small voice – and be encouraged by Your ever-abiding presence and promise to be with each and every one of us – always.
We love you and offer up all praise and glory.
In Jesus’ name.
Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15
It is good to give thanks to God, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
To declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O God, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of God; they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, showing
that God is upright.
God is my rock, and in God there is no unrighteousness.