A Season of Goodbye
As I look back over the decades that I have been alive, I find myself thanking God for the amazing people that God has brought into my life. From the pastors and Sunday school teachers who helped introduce me to God, to the mentors and friends who pushed me to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus, to the people who, through the way they lived their lives to show their passion for God with all of who they were and had, left me an example to follow. It is through these people that God continues to draw me closer to Him. If you look back, I am sure that you can echo my words of thanksgiving to God for people whom God has gifted you.
I raise this today because over the last two years we have been blessed by the ministry of Juliana Emina-Coney who has served as our Faith Community Nurse. Over that time she has brought joy to many of us, she has walked with people through some difficult health struggles, and she has helped to connect us to mission opportunities in her hometown in Nigeria. On World Communion Sunday she has enhanced many of our wardrobes, and through her ministry she has helped draw us closer to God. We have been blessed to have had her as part of our family and are grateful to God that our paths have crossed for this time.
Juliana will be leaving us as of December 31 of this year. Her future plans are to spend a month working on the mission projects in her hometown in Nigeria. When she returns, she will begin work as a Faith Community Nurse for Anaheim First Presbyterian Church. They are looking forward to having her minister with them at this pivotal time in their life as a congregation. I know her ministry with them will be a real blessing.
As far as the care of our congregation is concerned, the void will be filled by our outstanding Deacons. Over the last five years, the Deacons have been seeking out ways to care for our people and have been working alongside of our Faith Community Nurse and, before that, our Parish Associates that filled that role. I am confident that they will provide the care that our people need. Our Deacons are some of the best that I have worked with in my ministry because they have a heart for serving God by caring for us. Please be sure to thank the Deacons for their work and support them as you are given the opportunity.
As we offer that praise, let us also thank God that parting for Christians is only temporary. One day, we will come together again with every member of the Great Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) that God has used so mightily in our lives. So as we say goodbye, know that it is only for a short time and that we can release Juliana to serve God according to God’s plan.