Today marked my return as its pastor a decade after I retired from the Wolf Creek United Methodist Church. It was a hot, humid morning, even at 8:15 a.m. but I wore an alb for Holy Communion. I did concede something and came without a tie. We had a good turnout and it was a good homecoming. They had a cake for coffee hour that read “Welcome back Mark and Marina”. Andy, Marina’s Seeing Eye dog, decided to chime in with whines as I preached and I’m not sure what he was thinking or trying to convey. We had problems with the portable mike so I was “tethered” for most of the service–something I don’t like.
Wolf Creek UMC is small and our challenges are several. First, we need to create structure that has not existed, such as a post office box, phone and email contacts, and other things where an office has not existed solely for this congregation. Second, we need to decide on what we want our future to be and then decide on the steps that we need to take to get us there. We need to be “praying in” the people who should be part of our congregation. Third, we need to become more of what our Lord expects us to be. All of this can be done!
This coming week Marina and I mark the 50th anniversary of our first date. We went to lunch–a long lunch that got Marina into trouble at the office–at Gates of Spain, a Santa Monica restaurant atop a tall apartment building. The view from there was powerful: you could see all the way from Palos Verdes up the coast to Malibu and beyond. The way to the restaurant was via an elevator, a glass-walled one that slid up and down the beach-side wall of the building. Marina was pushing back against me and I, who hate heights and am paralyzed by them, was jammed against the back wall of the elevator. My hero! We were married the end of August and I can’t believe where life has flown. But it was the best decision I’ve ever made! Easy? No. Good for both of us? Yes!