Five years ago on June 18, I began my journey with Highland Baptist Church as Minister to Children and Their Families. On that day, my office was in the Preschool library as the office suite underwent renovation, VBS Camp was just two weeks away, our current upcoming high school sophomores were rising 5th graders, and my first Deacon’s meeting centered on prayer for a member of the community donating a kidney to another church member. Ironically, the dates this year fell exactly the same as they did on that Monday five years ago when all was new. I began the day walking through now familiar rhythms, preparing for our 10th year of VBS Camp, and ended the day attending another Deacon’s meeting filled with prayer for our community of faith.
As I looked out on the congregation as the choir sang so beautifully yesterday the Sunday before my anniversary, I remembered clearly a time when I could peer out from the chancel and recognize very few faces. But as the choir continued, I looked out remembering the many camps, classes, ministry group meetings, events and conversations that have taken place as we have discovered together what it looks like to nurture children and their families in faithfulness as Highland. I’m deeply grateful for the privilege and opportunity to serve in this incredible place as well as for the encouragement and love and grace you have offered to me on my journey thus far. Looking forward to all that is to come!
~ Renee Kenley Purtlebaugh