A couple of weeks ago after worship this young woman was standing around, looking at our bulletin boards, watching Faith Formation activities, reading information pieces out on our tables for quite a while. Eventually I went up and introduced myself. She asked if I remembered Diane Gainey and I said You’re Katie, at the same time she said, "I'm Katie." - The miracle granddaughter. The back story was Diane had us praying for Katie when she was born at one pound several ounces. Now Katie is a freshman at St. Olaf. Growing up she would come to church when visiting grandma 4 or five times over the years and was visiting friends in Winona and wondered what it would be like to revisit her late grandma’s church. So I got re-acquainted with a real life walking miracle today.
Because of Katie's visit I have been watching for more of God's surprises and patterns each Sunday morning. Last weekend at worship I wondered what God would do among us, since Katie - the walking miracle - had graced us with her presence. I was not disappointed as God revealed a charter member theme last Sunday.
It turns out that one of our charter members passed through death last week at 95 years old. His death was peaceful and Warren was ready. During the week I had a delightful communion visit with a charter couple, Arlin and Delores, as she recovers from a couple of recent strokes. Paul Harris, charter member, was leading worship on Sunday serving as our cantor. I mentioned Sunday that council member Nancy (Riehl) Wright is heading up Drive-Thru Soup Suppers this month. Another charter member Brian Wetterlin would be texting Pastor Anna on her way home with compliments about her sermon. Charter member Mike Brewster was in the back pew - just like he is every week with his mother, where she can keep an eye on him (people giggled remembering the story of a very young and very curious Mike who pulled the fire alarm one Sunday morning when the church met in the elementary school gym. Pastor Holy continued the service that day as the Head Usher Ube Guberud - with an outstretched arm not unlike Moses of old - held the fire alarm in the off position. Lastly we invited charter member Linda (Tikal) Gasper stand and be introduced as our recently hired Parish Visitor. She will be calling on the phone and seeing face-to-face our members in their third-third of life.
All of these people were here when PoP started in 1959. In these days of ever increasing changes - these resilient ones are still among us - living histories of God’s goodness in this community.