From Mark Hricko, Senior Pastor …
The recent installation of our new Associate Pastor on a hot summer day in July has been a cause for celebration and excitement among all of us at church.
But for me it also brought to the surface memories of my own installation into ministry at St. Andrew on a cold winter day in 1997. What strikes me as I look at this picture of a much younger version of me on that January Sunday is that I didn’t know most of the people who have become such important parts of my story. In fact, I didn’t know our son, David, who wasn’t even born until almost three months after the picture was taken. With the exceptions of Pastor Carlson and Ruth Heilman, I knew none of the members of the current church staff.
Nor could I have remotely imagined the journey I’d be on, the children I would baptize, the weddings at which we’d dance, or the saints whose funerals I would conduct. I had no idea that the church I was coming to serve would itself move to a larger site for ministry. I wasn’t anticipating that my wife would become a two time cancer survivor. I wasn’t thinking that the unborn child she carried that day would be a drummer in our Praise Band since there was no Praise Band and he wasn’t even born, or that our two daughters would become leaders of ministries in and beyond St. Andrew. And I obviously didn’t know Nick Gonzalez with whom Ken and I now share the pastoral ministry in ways that will lock us into each other’s stories forever. And on it goes.
At the risk of sounding like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I can only guess at how different our lives would have been had I not been led to that moment at the altar and the countless ones that followed. But what I know is that the blessings sure have flowed from God through circumstances, decisions, and people with whom we share joy, sorrow, faith, and love. And that makes me thankful for the path I’ve been on as our new pastor’s recent installation surfaced memories of my own. It also makes me even more excited for Pastor Nick and Lauren as their journey with the rest of us gets underway and we imagine the stories they will one day tell as they look back on the spiritual adventure that began for them on a hot summer day in July.