By Laurie Carter
Twenty years is a long time… but, then again, it’s really not. When I started working at Christ Lutheran, it was as a volunteer after my job at Bank of America was eliminated. My son, Ryan was in the first grade. He’s 27 now. Pastor Jeff Gardner had just launched the first website and we weren’t sure what to do with it. Pastor Scott and his family had arrived a year or so before I came. Pastor Mike Rinehart (now a Bishop in TX) and Pastor Marilyn Azcarza (retired from a church in Arizona) were just leaving. Pastor Jon Bustard was leading Family Ministry and Amy Daniels had moved into Outreach. There was no McPIE, Facebook, blogs or cell phones…wait…what? No cell phones! Correct…no cell phones…at least not at church! We didn’t know the words Google or Texting and certainly not taking pictures with a phone. Maybe it was a long time ago!
I shared an office with Mary Jones and she taught me all about the church and all the personalities of the staff and many members. We relied heavily on volunteers in the office in those days. They came on Mondays and counted the Sunday offering from the plate collection. Other volunteers worked in shifts answering the phones (no voicemail), greeting visitors and answering questions. Others came every week to assemble the bulletins and once a month, there was a party in the Great Room when they assembled the newsletters for mailing. Very little was online. I learned a lot about Christ Lutheran from those special volunteers. Among them, Hans & Sigrid Teich (of course!), Walter and Janice Dulin, Lib Tsumas, Barbara Erga and Ann Powell (who at 91, still answers the phone during our Tuesday staff meetings). Too many to name them all, but fond memories and a special blessing to them.
The church has grown so much in the last 20 years. We used to have 2 Contemporary services in Spirit Hall and 2 Traditional in Christ Chapel. The new Worship Center was only a dream back then. In fact, even the Ministry Center was not yet built. We signed our names and our favorite scripture on the floors of the Ministry Center. Ours are in the Music Suite near the door under the piano. I think about it every time I walk in there.
I’ve watched a generation of children grow up, leave and many have returned some with families of their own. I love Easter and Christmas Eve when all the college kids are home. There have been lots of weddings and many funerals both bringing together our church family sometimes in celebration and other times in mourning.
In my 20 years, we experienced the horrors of 9/11 and celebrated the building of the Ministry Center and Worship Center. We added Christ Online and our new campuses at Concord and South. Social Media exploded and we have had at least 5 versions of the website…and are about to launch another one! Oh, and then there’s the racial unrest, unprecedented political division and let’s not forget the pandemic where we haven’t worshiped together in 6 months!
So many changes in my 20 years on the staff at Christ Lutheran. But one constant remains. Ours is a church built on a community of believers who love Christ Lutheran, appreciate the staff, step up when help is needed, give of their time, their talents and their many gifts. They provide a strong foundation for our children rich in Christian love as teachers, leaders, directors and coaches.
It is an honor to serve here, and I am grateful to be part of this community of believers.