By Carol Brown & Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, September 24, 2015

What a wonderful and lovely way to celebrate twenty years of ministry with this church family! The worship service and anniversary celebration were perfect. I felt very loved and appreciated. Your expressions of love through the amazing meal, beautiful decorations, kind words from Jessica and Kim, the generous love offering, and sweet words of thanks written by so many were such a precious gift to me. My favorite surprise of the day was hearing Burgess sing…I treasure that memory! I was also pleased and grateful for the scholarship that will allow refugee children in Uganda to attend school. What a thoughtful way to say thank you!

Thank you to everyone who worked together to make the celebration so special. I am grateful that God has given me the joy of worshiping with you, eating Wednesday night meals with you, and just being a part of this wonderful family for the past twenty years.  
Many of you have trusted me to care for and teach and love your preschoolers through the years, and for that I am extremely thankful. Your children have blessed me many times over!

In addition to precious preschoolers, I’m also blessed to work with a great church staff. Jake, Cass, Ruth, Gerald, Debbie, Anna, Charlie, Homer, and Brenda are a really fun crowd to work with. We pray for each other and support each other no matter what. Ruth is a great partner in ministry – we have laughed and cried together and raised our families together while serving side by side – Ruth always inspires me to be a better minister. Thank you, Highland Hills, for giving me a place to minister, and for ministering to me and to my family through the years.

With a heart filled with gratitude,

As we celebrated together this past Sunday, twenty years of memories came flooding back to me. Part of me wanted to sit down and count the number of musicals, fall festivals, and camps I have done. I could have added up the scores of children’s sermons and Sunday School lessons that have been written, or I could have reflected on the number of hours spent doing bulletin boards and designing flyers. Instead, what came to me were faces – faces of people who have walked into my life in the twenty years that I have spent at Highland Hills as children’s minister.

I remembered the faces of precious, funny children who have grown into vibrant, loving adults. I remembered the faces of adults who gave of their time to make this a welcoming church for children and who embraced them with love and encouragement. I remembered the talented and committed ministers whom I have worked with along the way.

As I watched the celebration unfold on Sunday, all I could think was “how beautiful.” How beautiful is our family of faith. How beautiful are the years we have spent together inworship and service. How beautiful is this celebration.

My heart overflows with gratitude to each of you for your gift of kind words, for the delicious luncheon, and for the gracious love offering. I was also touched and proud of the scholarship that you have established that will benefit refugee children in Uganda and provide for them a means to attend school. What a beautiful gift!

I am grateful to you and to God for the opportunity to be on this journey together. I am grateful for the celebration that we shared on Sunday, because it opened my heart to see what God has done and is doing in our midst. As we move forward, may we continue to be faithful to God’s call upon our lives.

With love and gratitude,