Last month, we had our good friend Karen over just a couple of weeks before she moved to Kelowna to begin employment with Disney Interactive. When Karen told me that she would be working on the popular game Club Penguin, I told her that Jacob plays that game all the time. Within a matter of minutes, we had set up a date for Karen to come over to our place to eat and then play.
Needless to say, Jacob was very excited for the opportunity to teach someone – and an adult at that – everything he knew about Club Penguin. He counted down the days to Karen’s visit and he could barely contain his excitement when the day finally arrived. After a delicious dinner (prepared by Gail of course), Jacob showed Karen the ins and outs of the game for the better part of two hours. It was a great visual: Jake the eager 9 year-old as teacher and Karen the willing grown-up as obedient student.
This past Sunday, our assistant pastor said goodbye to our parish after three years of faithful service to our parish community. As Father Swann Kim reflected on his time at St. Paul’s at the end of Mass (one year as a deacon and two years as a priest), he choked up in a touching and genuine display of emotion. On cue, many in the congregation (including this writer) had to wipe away tears as we listened to Fr. Swann speak about how we had all become his family and that he was sad to move on.
Fr. Swann won’t be too far as he takes up residence at Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Port Coquitlam. As with many of the priests who have lived with and learned from Monsignor Luterbach, Fr. Swann will likely become a pastor somewhere in the not-so-distant future. Life at St. Paul Parish will go on, in large part to the strong leadership of Msgr. Luterbach and countless others in the parish community. As well, we are all excited as to what our new assistant pastor Father Rodney Nootebos will bring to our parish.
When it comes to our youth ministry leaders, it’s a common tendency to fall into the mindset of “keeping them at all costs”. We fear losing them forever and we sometimes fail to see that it might be worth suffering some short-term pain for some long-term gain.
There are many reasons why leaders leave ministry, including (but not limited to) burnout, lack of support/guidance, lack of training, lack of opportunities for growth, conflicts within the team/ministry, change of heart/desire, feelings of inadequacy or insignificance, changes in life/family/job, moral failures and not feeling appreciated/affirmed.