Weekly, the church office often receives numerous thank you notes from persons recovered from an illness. Long or short, we’re asked to print them in The Branch as an expression of gratitude for the prayers and care of the church. Because of the number of notes we receive and the limited space and program purpose of The Branch, we are unable to print these notes…

This is either Senior Minister privilege or me speaking for the unheard masses, but I’m about to say thank you. Last Tuesday, I underwent a ‘left side, inguinal, open, mesh hernia repair.’ (I had to say that at least ten times prior to the surgery along with my name and birthdate.) On that day – and in the days following – I’ve been the recipient of my church’s ministry and care.

I am grateful for your presence. In the days prior to surgery, many of you stopped by the office, stopped me in the hall, or stopped what you were doing during your day to share a word of encouragement and prayer. Waiting to be rolled into surgery, a member of our church stepped into my room. Dressed in scrubs, he informed me he had requested my case and would carefully handle my anesthesia. He put a hand on my shoulder and told me not to worry about anything.

I am grateful for our pastoral care team and ministerial staff. They have stayed in contact to ensure my knowledge of their prayers and availability for assistance. Kyle, Kendra, Ryland and every other area of ministry in our church – finance, music, facilities, day school, AYMC, etc. – have exercised competent and compassionate ministry skills.

I am grateful for you. Thank you for the cards and texts and phone calls. Thank you for offering all those casseroles and cakes even though I asked you to hold off on the food. Thank you for giving me a gentle, private space for healing and recovery. You know that I love knowing and being with each of you…at the same time…you know my introverted self needs space and solace to recharge.

So, for all those unpublished notes, let me say, thank you. You truly deserve it. We are truly church for each other.

— Jim

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