by President Janice Anderson
It rained last night, a gentle rain that soaked the earth, the first good rain of April. It reminded me of an old riddle, the only riddle that I can remember. It still makes me chuckle. “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?” “Pilgrims!” I hear your chuckle . . . or is that a groan?
Several years ago, my mother-in-law and I took an Olivet trip to Israel with Pastor Bill and his wife Jeanette and several other Olivet members. We had a wonderful time and really appreciated seeing so many of the sites we had read and heard about in our Lutheran education. Our guide in Israel was full of fascinating details and stories about each place we visited. He often referred to us as pilgrims. Pilgrims! I didn’t think of myself as a pilgrim, and I kind of objected to this label. But I came to understand that he was accurate. I was a pilgrim, if a pilgrim is “a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place for religious reasons.” I’m not sure if I swam in the Dead Sea for religious reasons, but I know that when I put my feet in the Sea of Galilee, I felt overwhelmed, knowing that Jesus and his disciples had spent so much of their precious lives there.
I think we are all pilgrims, journeying through life, headed to God’s sacred place, trying our best to do our best. Sometimes we do exceptionally well, other times, not so much. A couple of people who do exceptional work for us are our youth leaders, Michelle Elness and Grant Vanderford. Michelle has been nominated for the YWCA Woman of the Year this year! She works mostly with our younger children. Michelle is a loving and caring woman who knows each of Olivet’s kids by name. She creates a comfortable and safe atmosphere for our youngest members and their teachers, making sure that each one knows how welcome and important they are. Grant works mostly with our older kids, focusing on leading our confirmation programming. He has an energetic, free-wheeling style, grounded in faith and a love of sharing that faith. On top of all the work he is doing for our kids, he is attending seminary, preparing for a future in which he is a faith leader for all generations.
I visited with one of the adult confirmation leaders recently and she stated, “Oh, we have so much fun! I just love working with our kids!” Michelle and Grant work hard so that our education leaders and their students can enjoy the important work they do. Michelle and Grant work with Olivet’s kids during the summer, too. Vacation Bible School is just around the corner, and our older kids will have opportunities for their own pilgrimages this summer. A special highlight is a pilgrimage of another sort, a service trip to Memphis. Please offer a word of thanks to Michelle and Grant, or find a Sunday School teacher or confirmation leader to shake hands with this month.
When I started the President’s Corner, Olivet was on a different kind of pilgrimage. We were in the middle of lots of big changes at Olivet. My goal was to communicate what we were doing and the progress we were making while we were looking for a new senior pastor. Well, we have found our new senior pastor, right in our midst, and many of our big projects have been completed, so the President’s Corner is no longer so necessary. There is still important work going on, and I will keep you updated on a quarterly basis, rather than monthly. Pastor Kris will continue to have Open Forums on an intermittent basis, too, so that the work of the Council and staff is transparent to all as we pilgrim on.
Enjoy those May flowers!
Despite being slightly behind in giving and other income, the
financials (as of March 31st) show a nearly $7,000 surplus.
Kudos to the staff for being good stewards of Olivet’s resources and keeping expenses down.