Dear people of God:
The story is that someone once asked evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane what his studies had taught him about the Creator; he is said to have replied that the Lord evidently has an inordinate fondness for beetles. Hint: there are more types of beetles than of any other insect, and there are more types of insects than of any other form of animal life.
God loves diversity. Many of us prefer uniformity, I know. But, history shows that societies flourish that can interact widely and be flexible enough to learn from multiple cultural influences. St. Paul compares the Church of Jesus Christ to a body, and raises the ridiculous picture of a body that is all eye. How would it hear? (See I Corinthians 12:14-26)
Diversity is essential in an organization as complex as the Church, and trying to accomplish what the Church is trying to accomplish (Hint: read about “salvation”). We need people to be doing a lot of different things. And, although some of them are flashier than others, all are essential. Some preach sermons and some take supper to Siena Francis House and some fold bulletins and some put roofs on Habitat homes and some teach spiritual songs and some replace light fixtures. Even the biblical concept of the tithe is essentially diverse: a tithe of an annual income of $25,000 is $2,500; a tithe of $175,000 is $17,500. Each does what each can, not what someone else can.
Some folks seem to get honored and praised more than others; I suspect that pastors get more credit than we deserve, and the folks who count money or prepare the Voice for mailing or get bread from Panera for the hungry get less credit than they deserve. A group of folks who consistently give of their time, energy and faithfulness for the sake of the Body of Christ are those in ordered ministry: ruling elders and deacons. You may know that once ordained to one of these ministries, you hold it for the rest of your life, even though your term on a board is temporary. Although they don’t stop being deacons and ruling elders in January, I still want to thank those who are completing their term of service.
Deacons completing their service: Brittany Andersen, Debra Burg, Colleen Collins, Marge Finch, Mason Finch, Sandra Wolff.
Deacons finishing their term but serving another: Cliff Buckingham, Angela Burg, Mary McClean, Winnie Pinch.
Ruling elders completing their service: Ben Fricke, Dee Moriarty, Kathy Sutula.
Ruling elders finishing their term but serving another: Kevin Breyfogle, Kathy Koslosky.
Our rules require “retirement” after a maximum of six years, in order to encourage diversity. We are all grateful for those who are willing to undertake the important work of serving in these ministries; without them, the rest of the body could not function. Without the rest of the body, their service would have no impact. So, everyone is essential for the Body to do what it must. God loves diversity.