Care and Prayer
One of the best things about being a pastor is that part of the weekly job description is to share the Good News through preaching and teaching. I also look forward to sharing good news (no caps this time) about what God is doing in and around Elmhurst CRC whenever possible.
I am glad to be the bearer of this week’s good news and announce that we have a new Acting Director of Care on staff, Caryn Rivadeneira. Caryn has been a great member of our our team for the past six years helping to keep us Spirit-led, flexible and well organized for Sunday morning worship. Caryn is a daughter of the church, knows this community inside and out and loves this congregation—flaws and all—with a deep commitment. She’s also a person of well crafted words and deep prayers. I’m going to pause here and let Caryn continue with some thoughts about what she’s most enthusiastic about in making this transition. --Pastor Gregg
Earlier this week, after the news of my new position was announced and began to make the rounds, a friend texted me congratulations. The next morning, she reached out again and asked, “Wait. That wasn’t a joke, right?”
I’ve had a couple of responses like this. Some congratulatory, but some curious, some wondering what this was about and how it happened.
And I don’t blame them. To be honest: when I was first approached with the idea that I might be the right person to step into this role--at least, for a season--I was incredulous too. The role seemed too out of the blue and perhaps too far afield for me.
But when I was encouraged to pray about the idea, I did. Though God has been silent many times in my life--not responding to prayers in a manner in which I think God should--this was a prayer God responded to quickly. Most noticeably by the way God warmed my heart and sparked ideas concerning the possibilities of this role--for me.
Elmhurst CRC has been my church home for nearly 40 years. As Pastor Gregg said, through those years, I’ve seen this church at its best and worst and everything in between. Through it all, I’ve known this church to be a place where people care. In the times I’ve felt lost or abandoned by God, times when I’ve needed spiritual care (two of my books are titled Grumble Hallelujah and Broke so you know I’ve needed help!), I’ve found love and care in here--as have many of us.
And yet, I also know that this is not true for everyone. We all know someone who “fell through the cracks” or didn’t get the care they longed for from the Body of Christ. And we probably all know people who feel they could never come forward with a need or concern, with a worry or a trouble (perhaps, this is you!), so they languish and try to soldier on alone.
This shouldn’t be.
While we will never be a perfect church or care perfectly for one another, my hope is that this church is a place where everyone and anyone can come and feel loved, supported, seen and heard, encouraged, and cared for. And I hope we can identify some areas where we haven’t loved one another as we should (I’m certainly starting by looking at myself!) and ways we can do better--as individuals and as a community.
As I step forward into this role, I have some “big ideas” and yet lots to learn, so I covet your prayers. If you see areas where we can do better as a church, don’t hesitate to reach out. And please, please, if you have a need, if you need a listening ear, a helping hand, or someone with an open heart and open mind, let me or our care associates Pastor Bert or Laura Boot know. As one of the amazing members of the Care Staff said in our very first Care Meeting, “We can’t help if we don’t know.”
Caryn Rivadeneira has been on staff at ECRC since 2012 as Worship Coordinator. We’re delighted to announce her new role as Acting Director of Care & Worship Planning. Caryn can be reached anytime at [email protected].