Thursday, June 16, 2005

Close to Nowhere
By Linda Jones

“Moving” in more than one way

If you’re Methodist, you’re familiar with “moving Tuesday.” My pastor of four years, Todd Lemmon, was among those who was packing up and moving onward this week.

Todd’s wife Diane is also a pastor; she served a charge near Pope. She graduated from seminary this year and was promoted to a bigger church in Louisville (Miss., not Kentucky). Todd won’t graduate for another year or so, but since he likes to live with his family, he’s moving to a church in Louisville also.

Sunday was Todd’s last day at our church. Free Springs UMC was his first church, so many of us kinda felt like we were letting one of our children leave home to move out into the world all alone and on their own. That’s what happens when a bunch of “mother hens” are in a congregation.

We are all very proud of Todd. He’s grown as a person and a pastor and we’ve loved him for the four years he was with us and many of us will continue to love him, no matter where he goes. You just can’t escape mother hens!

Most of us mother hens were in a bad shape Sunday. It didn’t matter that we were sending Todd on to bigger and better things. It didn’t matter that our new pastor has visited several times and we’re confident we’re going to be very fond of him also.

What mattered was all us mother hens were throwing our baby chicken out of the nest and turning him loose on the wide, cruel world.

As a good-bye gift, several members of the congregation had donated pieces of fabric and we’d made a “friendship” quilt. (Didn’t you just know that I’d drag quilting into this somehow?)

Jane and I have worked on this quilt for quite a while now. I embroidered an outline of the church (and the gazillion trees surrounding it) and Todd’s “favorite” Bible verse. Jane cut and sewed the “stars” that had the signatures in the middle — we had all the congregation, many friends and some of the activities we’d enjoyed with Todd spread all over this quilt.

We took the quilt to our quilt meeting Saturday for a “sit and sew” afternoon and didn’t quite finish it. But we laughingly told everyone that by burning the midnight oil, we’d have it ready for him by Sunday morning’s service.

Jane and I sat on my loveseat all Saturday evening, binding the queen/king size quilt. After that, there was just a bit of connecting the lines of quilting and a couple other odd and end stitches that needed to be made.

Sunday, we gave Todd his quilt and then promptly took it away from him. Midnight came too swiftly and those odd and end stitches just didn’t get stitched.

Just as well — we need to wash it again to get all the tears out...


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