Margaret is 104 today.
Margaret was 97 when she served on the search committee that invited me to be a candidate to serve St. Andrew UCC as their pastor. The congregation extended the Call. Ministry began in July, 2006. Margaret celebrated her 98th birthday a month later.
Among Margaret’s legacies to St. Andrew is “the teddy bear ministry” which began a couple years before I arrived. For several years she provided the bears. You will find them anytime in the St. Andrew pews. Each bear has a tag that reads:
“This little bear has spent time in the midst of our congregation. It has heard the Scriptures read, sermons preached, prayers prayed, and songs of praise sung. It knows both the joys and the heartaches of our people, and has been surrounded by the love so freely shared by our community of faith. It comes to offer you comfort and peace, with all the blessings of worship and love. This Teddy Bear is yours to keep. St. Andrew United Church of Christ, Sarasota, Florida.”
The teddy bears have left St. Andrew to bring comfort and joy to people in Florida, the United States, and around the world.
Patricia and I enter into this time of sabbatical having each been gifted a bear for the journey.
Thank you St. Andrew.
Thank you Millie (who now takes care of this ministry).
Thank you Margaret.
And so, our journey begins.
Margaret is 104.
What a grand day to begin learning about aging with vibrancy, beauty, and grace.