|Since I was a kid, Labor Day was always special. It was a holiday marking the end of summer, school was about to begin, it was around my brother’s birthday (September 1) and my Dad was off work. Some years it also was our turn to go “up north” to the family cottage and take in the dock for winter. As I got older though, having grown up in a blue collar suburb of Detroit (Roseville), I came to see Labor Day as a day to celebrate the working folks of America. Since my Dad worked in a factory in Detroit, that was a day to celebrate his hard work and his good work ethic. Not only did he work hard in the factory, but he also, on weekends and holidays, pretty much single handedly built the house we grew up in, which was less than a block away from the church (Bethlehem Lutheran on Gratiot Avenue) which we also grew up in and worshipped in every Sunday.
For those reasons it seemed especially fitting that I began my ministry at Our Savior on Labor Day weekend, Sunday September 4, 1977. It is here that I lived out the work ethic that I learned from my Dad and began my life’s work where we would raise our children and be a part of building a congregation, involving several building projects, which, while hard work, also happily brought me back to my blue collar roots.
And now, fittingly enough, this Labor Day weekend (Sunday September 4 again) marked both my 39th Anniversary at Our Savior, and my retirement! And what an amazing, wonderful, emotional, spiritual weekend it was! I’m still a bit overwhelmed with such an outpouring of love, support, kindness and generosity. Not enough words to say thank you. More to come in the Fall newsletter coming out within the next couple weeks.
So what will this whole retirement thing look like for me and my relationship with Our Savior? That is something we’re all going to grow into. But in these first few months, I plan to take the “sabbatical” that I never took. “Sabbatical” meaning a break, a time apart from Our Savior for a couple of reasons. For one, I will need to let go of what I’ve been doing for the past 39 years here. That will take a little time. So, during these last months of 2016, other than being at a couple of special events here at Our Savior, Karen and I plan on worshiping in other places while we do some traveling, visiting family and friends, and finally spending Christmas in Ohio with our son Andrew and his family (Olivia 8 and Drew 6). Oh yeah…maybe a little extra fishing in there too.
The other reason for this “sabbatical” is to let your wonderful staff find it’s rhythm together. I picture a mobile. When one piece is removed and another added, it takes time for everything to find it’s balance. I have nothing but the greatest confidence that your great staff will both maintain the best of what Our Savior is, and bring some fresh new ways of doing things as well. Then when the New Year begins, I look forward to joining you all and the other 6 or 7 retired pastors in the pew and being a part of the ministry of Our Savior in a new way, both as a fellow member and also as Pastor Emeritus! What a meaningful, humbling surprise that was! Again, so very grateful!
And now I pass this weekly OSEnews along to Pastor Mark, Pastor Shelly and Ryan as I begin this new chapter in life called “retirement”, with much love and appreciation to all.
Let your light shine! See you in church! Pastor Jack Diehl +