I have been an ordained pastor for about twenty years. Some of you may remember me as that young vicar that worked here with PD during my third year in seminary in '96.
About two years ago Ilene and I returned to Good Shepherd after I retired. I don't remember the exact date, but it was during the season of Advent in 2017. We walked in that first Sunday and sat somewhere in the middle of your new worship space. After greeting the Lord, we began to look around and see how many old friends we could recognize. My eyes strayed to the altar, and then the baptismal font and the banner standing next to it with the figures of Joseph and Mary riding a donkey, traveling to Bethlehem. I looked at it and immediately said to myself, "That seems familiar to me," and I wondered what the connection was. And then it dawned on me, it was a banner that Ilene had made and given to Good Shepherd as a gift many years ago. I nudged her and as we turned to face one another she said, "I think I made that." I said, "You did, and they are still using it during Advent." How wonderful. It felt good to be home again. And I said to myself, "Thank you God, for welcoming us so lovingly into your house."
We began to worship with you on Sunday mornings and think of ourselves as new members. Ilene wanted to find a ministry at Good Shepherd where she could use the gifts that God has given to her. Every Sunday we would sit and prepare for worship while admiring the beautiful worship space. The light streaming down from the windows above was marvelous. The banners and paraments filling the space while giving glory to God were beautiful. The banners high overhead were glorious. We knew that they were mostly created by Jan Kimosh who dyes her own fabric to create her beautiful art for God.
As weeks went by, Ilene began to remember the period in her life when she created all my stoles that I would need as a pastor after ordination.