And now my friend Pastor Dawn Carder from First Presbyterian Church has up and retired on me. Last Sunday morning the congregation held a service to celebrate her time with them. And they invited me to play.
I played "Ave" for Dawn — a song I wrote
in Ireland last year and a piece she loves.
(That's her with the red robe and the awesome
blond hair in the front row, listening intently.)
I was by no means the only one to contribute talent to that service. Three choirs sang for her. The handbell choir rang for her. Children read scriptures and gave her a quilt they made for her. A council member read a hilarious and moving tribute poem he'd written for her. And as the grand finale, half the congregation flash-mobbed the front of the church in a rendition of a "liturgical dance" (to George Michael's "Faith", nonetheless) that had me sobbing with laughter. A touching and happy farewell.
I'll miss her solid, encouraging presence when I'm meandering those halls getting ready for a concert. I'll miss those meditative moments we collaborated on. I'll miss those sermons that restored my own faith in modern worship (though she never did convince me to join the church...).
Happy retirement, Dawn.