Message of Thanks from Pastor Alessandri

Message of Thanks from Pastor Alessandri (pdf)

My dear, dear members, friends and guests of Haven,

YES, you did it! I was totally surprised on Sunday when you celebrated my 15 years at Haven.
Mary Grabill made sure I had a bulletin that did not mention the flower dedication or any other note that might give it away. As I scurried around the narthex that morning, there were folks stealthily making sure I noticed nothing out of place and I didn’t see anything unusual. I did notice some unexpected guests, but I conjured ideas to explain each of their presence. Your love, kindness and generosity overwhelm me. And it is not just on special occasions, but continuously. You are very good at expressing your appreciation and gratitude to me. I am humbled, blessed and encouraged by it. YOU are “God sightings” to me.

As I tried not to keep you too long on Sunday, I did not fully unpack the amazing gifts you gave me. I showed you the beautiful box with the commissioned tile of Haven. (I’ll be sure to put it out again next week so you can see it up close if you didn’t get the opportunity to do so. It is beautiful.) Later I discovered that your gift box also contained other gifts you may not have known about: a$50 gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts, $50 gift card to Los Amigos restaurant, a $50 gift card to the Brewhouse restaurant, a $120 certificate to the Bodyworks Massage Center and a certificate telling me that a donation had been given to the ELCA Disaster Relief Fund for Tornado Relief work. All of that plus a VERY generous check. What a bounty! It literally took my breath away.

Later in the day when I sat and read your cards and notes, my heart just overflowed. I lifted each of you up in prayer. I gave thanks to God for bring us together as partners in the Lord’s mission and ministries. You told me what I do made a difference and pleases God. I cannot express how deeply meaningful and fortifying that is to hear. I do hope I offer you similar encouragement.

It seems I startled some of the planners a few weeks ago when I said in my sermon that I had been here 16 years several times. Sorry. It was just poor math on my part. I can still feel the excitement in the church on Sunday as Council President, Will Seilhamer, asked to escort me back up to the altar. I can still feel the joy of being surrounded by your love and care for me and God’s church at Haven. I look forward to finding out to what adventures the Holy Spirit will call us. Together — empowered by God’s Word, our baptismal promises, Holy Communion and God’s church — we will honor God, reach out with love and share the gospel to made a difference in the name of our Lord.

With great thanks and much love,
your pastor and partner in ministry,
Linda M Alessandri