And Finally: March
March is an unusual time of the year for a farewell in church program year time, but the end of this month will mark the conclusion of Andrew Spidahl’s Pastoral Residency at Hope Church. But more than a farewell this month, it is a chance to say Thank You to Andrew. Through May, Andrew will be continuing some leadership with our 20/30 Ministry, but I didn’t want to let this opportunity pass to express gratitude to Andrew for his ministry among us during this 2-year residency.
It has actually been the last 5 years that Andrew has been serving in some staff capacity at Hope Church, as he first came to Hope Church as a Seminary Intern and then staffed several areas of ministry during my sabbatical in Fall 2013. It has been a unique experience in ministry for me to be a part of Andrew’s life as a mentor, colleague and friend as he has gone from student to ordained minister while serving at Hope Church. I have been grateful for the blessing and commitment Andrew has given this place as he has responded to his call to ordained ministry, and as we have seen his life so wonderfully enriched too in meeting and marrying Kallie Espumante Spidahl.
I have seen Andrew serve well in a number of different capacities in his time at Hope Church, from leadership in worship to teaching youth to organizing neighborhood events, and Andrew and I have spent a lot of time together particularly on Fish Club Appalachian Trail hikes and High Hopes trips which I have enjoyed immensely with Andrew. But what has remained consistent in Andrew in all of the roles he has carried out at Hope Church, is his passion for justice, his compassion for people, his heart for worship and his kindness to all. Even as I have been in the role of a mentor for Andrew, he has been a teacher to me in these qualities that reflect the fruits of the Spirit and work in and through his life. I have been blessed to learn from the way Andrew cares for those who are on the margins in obvious or subtle ways and the way that he brings us as a faith community to be at the margins, both being Christ to and seeing Christ in others.
Andrew has brought many gifts to Hope Church, and he has opened himself to the many faithful people and ministries that have influenced him during this formative time in his life, and in that mutual blessing he has been a person of God’s grace among us. Thank you, Andrew. God bless you and Kallie together in a faithful path ahead.
P.S. Mark your calendar for Sunday, June 5, for an official Thank You time for Andrew!