Saturday, July 24, 2010


Our church secretary,Julie, is retiring and taking some time to travel. As I reflect on our working relationship, I find myself grieving the loss of her presence in the office. I am so grateful for the time we have worked together to meet the needs of this congregation. Working as a church secretary is not for the faint of heart, it takes a perfect blend of compassion and skills to fulfill the multiple tasks that are required to succeed in this position. Julie gave her heart to the work, carefully attending to the various concerns of people who called or emailed or walked in our door. So often her caring attention to the sometimes overlooked details, made each event each worship service a better experience.
She put up with my quirks and helped me be a better pastor, and a better person, because of her loving attention to the needs of others. Her ministry made coming into the office a real joy, and allowed me to spend more time in the community and attending to the needs of others. I will miss her smile, her gentle spirit and her insights.
Fortunately, Julie remains with us as a member of the church, and so I will continue to see her and be able to share in ministry with her.
Thank you Julie for your careful attention to the work of the church, for enduring through all the demands made of you, I will miss working with you, the preschool will miss working with you, the church will miss your work, yet we all look forward to seeing you, walking with you as members of the same family in Christ!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cancer Survivor

Melanoma Skin Cancer
Little did I know when growing up and getting sun burns as sort of a badge of honor, would I be diagnosed with a melanoma. Fortunately, I see my dermatologist on a regular basis and when I had a patch of skin that seemed suspicious, he was able to diagnosis and treat it by removing the cancer in a simple office procedure. I feel fortunate that there has been no reoccurrence. However, I have not educated myself very well about Melanoma until I participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for life in Walnut. I heard stories about how how Melanoma if untreated can enter the body and there is no cure for when that happens. All of sudden my easy encounter with cancer became very serious. Now I am paying attention to making sure I am using sunblock, stay out of the direct sun, and wear clothes that protect me.
Emotionally, I have not really thought of myself as a cancer survivor, especially when I see how devastating can be to others. But the more I thought about it I realized I benefited by early detection and if more of us did self exams, and paid attention to our bodies and the warnings they give us, perhaps more people would find cancer earlier and have a head start in treating whatever cancer they find. Ignoring the signs, staying away from Doctors, can be decisions that lead to much more serious implications.
I wear my survivor t-shirt with thanksgiving that I was so fortunate to have a good relationship with my doctor, I was educated enough about skin cancer to know that spot on my skin was not normal, and get the support I needed after treatment. If you have any suspicions, I hope you too will seek out advice from your doctor, and find the support you need for what ever the news is.