For the past several weeks, our church family has been in prayer for two members of our ministry team.
After undergoing emergency surgery in February, Greg Twombley, our Praise Team Leader and Director of Ministries has been recovering, working from home, and preparing for a second surgery scheduled for the end of April. We give thanks with Greg for God’s provision in his life and look forward to his return to St. Andrew following his second round of recuperation. In the midst of his down-time, I have been repeatedly uplifted by Greg’s faithful witness throughout this challenging chapter in his life.
A week before Palm Sunday, Rosemary Wasser, our Organist/Choirmaster fell ill and was subsequently hospitalized for a number of ailments. Earlier this year and prior to her illness, Rosemary had announced her intention to retire in the fall, but because of the uncertain length of her needed medical care and recovery, she has now requested that her retirement take immediate effect.
During her years of service among us, Rosemary encouraged our praise and led our worship in times of joy, sorrow, transition, and ongoing spiritual nourishment. Our choir became her community and grew significantly under her leadership as she turned her back on you week after week to direct those who sing the Lord’s song for our hope and celebration. Over the years, many guest musicians were introduced to the ministry of Christ at St. Andrew through her gregarious nature and clear invitation. As we give thanks for all the ways in which Rosemary has used her gifts and skills with such great excellence for the glory of God, we also join together in a bond of love and prayer until we can thank her in person.
That brings me to one more person for whom I encourage you to pray. At its April meeting, St. Andrew’s Board of Directors issued a Call to Ruth Heilman to serve as our new Organist/Choirmaster. As many of you know, our relationship with Ruth began when she served as substitute organist during Rosemary’s absence last January, again during Holy Week, and now in this season of Easter, during which she is also directing our choir.
Ruth is an experienced church musician, having served in a number of Lutheran churches and schools. She holds a degree in parish music along with several professional memberships in associations for Choral Directors and Music Educators. Ruth is also a teacher and Lutheran school principal, currently serving as Upper School Principal and Dean of the Faculty at Concordia Preparatory School in Towson. Upon acceptance of her call to St. Andrew and following the closing of the current school year, she will conclude her ministry there and transition from interim to permanent Organist/Choirmaster at St. Andrew.
Please join me in giving thanks for the Spirit’s guidance in leading Ruth to this new chapter in her service to God and also praying for her in this time of farewell, welcome, and transition to our worshipping community, not to mention a very busy schedule!
I also invite you to praise God with me for our worship during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, at our first service in the Amharic language which took place on Easter Sunday, and as we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Dedication of our church facilities at New Hampshire Avenue and Norwood Road on April 22.
Finally, allow me to invite you to put Sunday, June 3 on your calendar, when a Members Luncheon Meeting will be held in the Great Room at 12:15 p.m. Expect to receive updates about our worship and music ministry, the Amharic service, church staffing, finance, and plans resulting from the work of our Futures Task Force. It should be an exciting, inspiring, and informative time, and I hope you’ll be a part of it.
May God bless and provide for those who have served among us in the past, those who will lead us into the future, all who make their spiritual home at St. Andrew, and those we have yet to reach with the dynamic, life-changing Good News of our Risen Lord, who is with us in sickness and health, joy and sorrow, transitions and new beginnings, and in every changing season of life.
He is risen! The Lord be with you+
Love, in Christ,