I am a glass-half-full kind of guy. Generally I can spot the first slender streak of blue that emerges in a cloudy sky. Some people see the dead rabbit under a bush; I see ripe apples on a nearby tree. There are days that do not deserve such facile optimism, but I press on undeterred.

This quirk has not needed an artificial assist this summer around River Road Church. The plus side of the ledger is full. Let me hand out a few gold stars.

My first gold star is to the directors of our Vacation Bible School in July, Lisa Cipolletti and Kristina Barbier. For the second consecutive year Lisa and Kristina have organized and managed a quality experience of learning and fun for our children. Attendance this year was higher than at any year I have been pastor. Stars also to all who worked to make this a growing event at River Road.

My second gold star goes to our musicians. For the first time a choir has been in worship every Sunday in August. What a boost on August 1 to look up and count 35 people in the choir stalls. We also had a summer handbell choir and, on several Wednesday evenings, a summer choir in the balcony. What a gift that has been for those who are not away during summer weeks.

My third gold star goes to our youth. For one week in August they swarmed around our halls, cleaning out closets, organizing shelves and painting the walls of our entire children’s building. It was billed as a “thank you” tour, a week at home instead of one the road, a week to care for the place in which we worship and from which we go to serve others. The “thank you” should come from us to our youth for their efforts.

My fourth gold star goes to our educators and teachers who have continued to offer quality biblical and theological teaching during the summer. In addition, they have spent hours planning curriculum and organizing classes for the Fall. The coming months are filled with opportunities for education and spiritual formation.

My final gold stars go to Mike Price, Bob Gallagher, Ann Ashcraft, Chester Phelps, Sheryl Johnson and Dan Bagby, our staff who gave quiet and consistent leadership to the above ministries, and without whose skills and loyalty we would be limping. When you see them, and any of the people I have mentioned, thank them. All of us are the beneficiaries.


Originally published in the September Explorer