The presence of the serving never really leaves the place they served. Their handprints, words and actions; their presence at the bedsides of the sick and dying; the sermons and writings proclaimed to their people. All this and more is engraved into the heart of the ever-shifting body known as the Church. Pastors and spouses, both present and past, have an ever-growing impact on those who remember them and those who don’t. And one such pair will grace us with their presence this Sunday.
Janet and Rev. Ron Evans.
Visits from this pair is a time for celebration. It is time to soak in all that they are and all that they have sacrificed to our vibrantly active community. It is a time to thank them (again) for their leadership through over two decades of ministry. It is a time for those who haven’t yet seen them, but have only heard of them, to put a face to the names spoken throughout our halls. Simply put: it’s a good time.
After all, it’s not for nothing that there are benches, flowers, and rooms preserving the memory of this pair. Such spaces silently testify to the impact of a partnership dedicated to the ministry of First Congregational Darien.
I kind of know what it’s like. Growing up, my childhood pastor celebrated his twenty-fifth year when I was a teenager back in Manteno, IL. He only recently retired after nearly forty years at the same church. Rev. McCormick (or Pastor Jack as he was affectionally called) permeated my entire church experience while at Manteno. He saw me as a child, through being a rebelliously atheist teen, to married Music Pastor at that very church. Pastor Jack saw it all.
In a very big way, a central formative identity belongs to those who have been part of our faith journey for a long time. They can become pillars or signposts in our journeys toward being in closer communion with God and the Church. And our memories preserve them as such.
May we prepare our hearts for the warm Christian embrace of these leaders and friends, fellow-servants and veteran laborers!