The church sent me off in true United Methodist fashion — with a fork in my hand. We had a potluck. People stood and shared their memories of me. Told my secrets. And said what it was they would remember most.
They made me cry.
The Three Sopranos (a choir trio, not the mob) sang to me. Not only did I cry — so did a few others. Then the talks began. Lonna said she appreciated me for my storytelling, both written and oral. My Sidewalk Crew stood up — as a team — and said that the shoes I was leaving behind would be dang hard to fill. I wonder why they don’t know I couldn’t have done any of it without them? Beverly told everyone that I’d confessed I was really leaving because the church just sold and I wasn’t going through the ordeal of cleaning it out and closing it down (we worked together on the team that sorted through 97 years of storage when First UMC sold). And Carol said that when she thinks of me the one thing that stands out in her mind was a Saturday night sermon I gave. She said, “Ask me by Wednesday and I won’t be able to tell you what Pastor spoke about today, but I will never forget your story about the homeless man in the rain.”
I will never forget my Las Vegas church family because they provided an oasis of peace, refreshment and joy in this often hostile desert. They gave me their love, ministered with me, ministered to me, and allowed me to minister to them. They have helped shape and mold me into the person I am today. Because of that, no matter where I go they will be part of my future.