A few weeks ago I received an invitation to the 50th anniversary of Luther Memorial in Tinton Falls, NJ, the church I attended when was living in New Jersey and working for Bell Labs before I went to the seminary. It’s been twenty-eight years since I’ve been there, so I am flattered that they remembered me and sent me an invitation. Unfortunately, the celebration is on Palm Sunday, and I am working. But I took a few minutes to write with my my greetings and record a few memories for them.
Just out of college, working my first job, living in my first apartment, I decided to search out a church in Monmouth County, NJ. The first one I tried didn’t even notice I was there. The second one, Lutheran Memorial, embraced me as one of their own from the moment I stepped in the door. The first Sunday there, someone took me to lunch. The next week, they got me involved with the choir and playing trumpet. The third week they invited me to help teach the high school class. And from there, grew to love ministry much more than my profession. The love of that congregation propelled me towards the pastoral ministry in a big way. And for that I will always fondly remember and thank God for my time with them.