by Cass DuCharme

Last Monday, the DuCharmes celebrated the last first day of school as Chase began his senior year at Howard High. For sixteen years, Ruth and I have been celebrating the first day of school with Caitlyn and Chase and now that experience is behind us. Yes, we do have a few first days of college to look forward to, I hope, but that is a totally different experience, as you know.


The last first day of school made me very nostalgic. I began thinking of that first day of school at the old Rosa Taylor Elementary School on Caitlyn's first day of kindergarten, of Caitlyn starting middle school at the new Howard Middle and of Chase walking into Mrs. Gammon's fifth grade class at Springdale. (He called her Miss Jayne at church.) My mind then sprang forward to Caitlyn's senior year at Howard and then her graduation. That year went by so fast. Chase has always been three years behind Caitlyn in school, and I knew when she graduated that I had three more years with Chase. I thought I was better prepared for this day, but as it turns out, I'm not so sure.


Now don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of Caitlyn and Chase and their accomplishments, I'm just not ready to let them go. I want to make sure that they're ready for the real world and hope that they make the right decisions about their futures. I hope that I've taught them to be good citizens and to love everyone as God does. I pray for their safety and all that the future has in store for them. I thank the Lord for the community of faith that has always loved and cared for them and trust that they have embraced that faith.


Speaking of transitions and the community of faith, our church is going through its annual transitions, as we begin planning for a new year of service together. The nominating committee is hard at work filling the needed positions of leadership. Please volunteer to serve and say "yes" if asked to serve. It takes all of us, sharing our gifts together, to accomplish the work of the kingdom. The finance committee is working on next year's budget. The numbers that they are working with aren't just arbitrary numbers on a page but are ministry items that are important to our church and the Lord's work. Please pray about what you can give to help sustain the mission of our church in the world today.


Just like I want Caitlyn and Chase to be prepared for what lies ahead of them, I want our church to continue to be a place that loves the Lord, cares for all in need, and helps individuals and families grow in their faith. Highland Hills has had a wonderful past and now we embark on a bright future. Transitions aren't always easy but are always needed if we want to continue to grow. I am thankful to Highland Hills for being a church that has helped my own family to grow, and I look forward to serving together as we embark on a new year of service.