I’m writing after a week of trying to process all the events of the previous week and as we approach Father’s day.  What is clear is that Surfside UMC has loved and cared for my family and for me like family through the journey to ordination and Sarah’s wedding.

Many of you were instrumental on the journey to ordination.  You were my encouragers, who walked along with me, learned about the process, and assured me that you believed that I should be ordained. Some of you like Scarlett, not only encouraged but pushed and pulled me when I got stuck. You saw more in me than I often saw in myself. This was not just my ordination, but something which was accomplished with you as you made the journey with me. For all that you did and for the time you gave me to work through the process, I am deeply grateful.

I didn’t think that I could be humbled any more than I had been by your support through the process. I was wrong!  You didn’t stop there, you pulled me along to truly celebrate my ordination. Some of you came to Greenville for the Service of Ordination. It is a powerful experience to know that there were almost 30 people, family and members of Surfside UMC who sat together, stood, and prayed for me when Bishop Holston laid his hands on my head. Thank you once again for the gift of your time, support, and love.

On Sunday, you went above and beyond by celebrating ordination. I am grateful and humbled that so many of you offered your congratulations and stayed for lunch. Thank you all for the generous monetary gift.  I also am deeply appreciative of the beautiful stole the United Methodist Women presented, the cake supplied by the United Methodist Men, and the time and energy given by the Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee. I am richly blessed by this congregation that celebrates with me.

You became family when you helped take on Sarah’s wedding. The United Methodist Women threw an incredible shower for her in May. Others gave time, energy, and talents to pull of a wedding that was absolutely amazing.  I especially want to thank Gini Abee, Leigh Gamble, Jane Chamberlain, and Mike and Mashalle Bailes for taking on the task that my family did when I got married. They called some of you to help. My family had the chance to meet you and understand why I love this talented, generous, and loving congregation.

There was one person who was not present in person for my ordination and Sarah’s wedding who would have beamed with pride – my Daddy. He was my example of faith and of giving of oneself to the church.  He was my example of caring about people, especially those that didn’t fit in. He often made sure that I ate when I was busy during high school. So this Father’s Day, I give thanks for his example and you stepping in and doing exactly what he would want to see the church doing.  I think he would be proud of you as well as me.

Thanks again for living out the love of Jesus!

With deep gratitude, humility and love,

Pastor Laura