On May 6, the staff and board of FBC hosted a luncheon for those who have been members of this church for 50 years or more. There were 27 people on the invite list, whose combined years of membership totaled more than 1600!
On the tables were some conversation prompts. One of them asked, “What brought you to FBC, and what has kept you here all these years?” I was lucky enough to overhear some of the answers shared to these questions, and my favorite was when Anne Engen tugged on Mickey Howard’s sleeve as Mickey was headed out the door, and said to her, “You’re the reason I’m still here. Did I ever tell you that?”
Mickey looked surprised, so Anne reminded her that decades ago, when Anne’s children were young and restless and she worried about the noise they’d make during prayers, or the fidgeting they’d do in the pews, she retrieved her mail one day and there was a card from Mickey. And Mickey had written Anne just to tell her how glad she was that Anne and her family had found FBC, and how delighted she was by Anne’s children. As Anne talked, Mickey began to remember that small kindness she’d performed so long ago, but it was clear she’d thought of it as just that – a reaching out to extend some friendliness, nothing out of the ordinary.
And I was struck, listening to the two of them, at how (of course, again) the little things just really, truly, aren’t. A moment of thoughtfulness, maybe a twenty-two-cent stamp, let someone know that she was welcome, helped someone feel she was beloved, created a space for someone that she and her family could call sanctuary for their lives. I’m full of good intentions for things like this. Listening to Anne share with Mickey reminded me of the life-changing difference it could make if I acted on those good intentions. And it made me wonder: what are the (not-so-) small ways we, as a congre-gation, can offer that kind of assurance of welcome to all we encounter?