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by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, November 16, 2017

Twenty-five years ago, God provided a path that brought us together. Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that the Minister of Music Search Committee came to Buies Creek, NC and began the process that would bring us to Macon, GA and Highland Hills Baptist Church. However, when I look in the mirror and see the gray hairs and wrinkles I realize that a lot of time has gone by, but the years have been good and fruitful as we have ministered and worshipped together.

The celebration that you planned for me on Sunday was a beautiful reminder of how much we have shared and of how far God has brought us. While surprises tend to take me out of my comfort zone, this day was filled with surprises that were both fun and meaningful.

I should have known this wasn’t going to be a typical day at Highland Hills, because when I arrived on Sunday morning, I was greeted with phrases like, “please leave the Sanctuary for a little while and go downstairs…we’ll let you know when you can come back up,” “don’t you dare go in the Great Room,” and “twenty-five years is long enough… don’t you think it’s time to retire? (I think that person was kidding!)

I love our times of worship together, and Sunday was no exception. The morning was a beautiful expression of our love for God as we sang and prayed together. Sharing communion, as always, was meaningful. Then as Ruth and I made our way to the front pew the surprises began. I was speechless as Caitlyn and Chase surprised me with their beautiful song. I can’t begin to tell you how proud and honored I was to hear them sing together. I was blessed by your gifts of a portrait, a planner, and a generous love offering. As always, you give with your heart, and I am grateful.

The celebration luncheon in the Great Room was delicious! I was blessed by kind words, hugs and more surprises. Seeing the video of congratulations from former colleagues and mentors made the day even more special. David Shenning, Carlys Scates, Craig McMahan, and Dave Hailey each hold a special place in my heart. They have mentored me in ways that are hard to name, but I am grateful for each of them and the role that they have played in my life. Having them contribute to this day was very special to me.

Thank you for this day of celebration. It was not only affirming of the years past, but also a great reminder of the wonderful place that I get to serve every day. I can’t imagine working with any other church staff. Thank you Jake, Ruth, Carol, Gerald, Debbie, Charlie, Homer, Brenda, and all of the church staff for your constant love and care for me. Thank you, church family, for being family to me, for supporting me, for loving me, and for twenty-five years of service in this place.

Now that the celebration is over, it’s time for me to “get my ducks in a row,” because Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas are coming. I’m not sure what my 26th year has in store, but I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. I love you all very much.