Monday, February 27, 2012


Membership Matters

Scripture:  In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Mark 1:9

“Pastor Cathy, will you baptize me?”  This was the question Edmund asked a few weeks after I assumed my new appointment on July 1 last year.  It was clearly something he had been thinking about for quite some time.  

Edmund has been one of the church custodians for the past five years.  His early life had not exactly been trouble-free but recent years had seen a marked turn around.  He is married with a solid job and trying to move forward in the best of ways.  At 57, he wanted to be baptized.  What was Edmund really asking?  What was he getting himself into?  

It was a joy to baptize him a few weeks later.  Not long after that, he stopped by my office again –this time wondering why “they” (meaning the stewardship committee) had sent him a letter about making a pledge for the coming year.  I explained that since he was now an official member of the church, he was expected to make a financial contribution.  The amount did not matter; anything would do.  I could tell Edmund was giving it a lot of thought and he did make a pledge – an amount that surprised me and one that I knew was probably a stretch given his salary. 

I have been watching him over these days and weeks.  He finds his way into my office more often - just to say hello or sit for a brief chat with no particular agenda and I am enjoying getting to know him.  On Christmas Eve, though he was not scheduled for work, he was one of the first to arrive wearing his finest dress pants and leather jacket and volunteering to serve as an usher.    Again, on January 2nd – another day off – he was around the church throwing out dried up poinsettias and making sure to take down outdated holiday signs.  

I’m not sure Edmund can rightly explain his renewed sense of ownership and pride in “his” church but something has clearly taken a hold of him. He is a “member”.  He belongs. 

Prayer:  Loving God, thank you for the waters of baptism that continue to wash away the dirt and grime of life and makes us clean by your love.

 The Reverend Dr. Cathy Gilliard

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