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I want to give a HUGE thank-you to my church family at Atonement. You really surprised me on July 25...I had no clue you had cooked up a celebration for the 30th anniversary of my ordination/15th year at Atonement. The years have just flown by, especially that last half. We've been busy here in Florida, busy doing God's work with God's people, and I just didn't give a thought to what a milestone this was.

Thanks for the surprise, the thoughtfulness, the tributes, and the luncheon. Thanks for inviting my colleagues from the Tampa conference -- especially Pastor Dave Kruger who was the interim pastor here, and part of my welcoming committee; and Pastor Eric Friedrichs, who leads Christ the King Lutheran Church in Temple Terrace, and now leads us Tampa Conference pastors as our new dean. Thanks for remembering a moment in my ministry I could have easily let slip by. You reminded me how richly God blesses us through caring for, serving, and being part of a church family.

I also want to thank everyone for the wonderful contributions to my office renovations. We rearranged some furniture, got rid of the book shelves, then Su snuck into the office and painted it a bright, cheerful yellow. We added curtains and hung Bob Johnson's beautiful picture of Jesus on the cross on the wall. But still things weren't right in there...the desk took up a lot of space, and the chairs were old and worn.

The old office chairs had been around since before I arrived...

That's where you came in! The congregation raised money to replace the desk and chairs, and for me to upgrade my office chair. After a trip to The Room Exchange, I have a slimmed-down desk and two nice bright chairs for guests. A new office chair is on its way. Thanks for helping make my office fresh and inviting for everyone...please stop in and check out the new look next time you're at the church.

Wesley Chapel is a growing community, and Atonement has been growing along with it. Along the way we've made good friends, had lots of fun, seen our kids take flight from the nest, and been touched by the blessing of God in ways there are no words for. So much has happened in the last 15 years, but I feel we have much more ministry ahead. What a great feeling to be part of Christ's family, the Lutheran family, and your family of faith at Atonement!

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