This past weekend was my last weekend in Wilmington. It still has not hit me that I am going to a new chapter in my life. But I know the people at St. Stephen’s have prepared me to follow where the Spirit leads me and equips me to be a servant in many ways.
When starting this blog, I had so many emotions about what I wanted to say about a community I hold so dear. I reached out to my housemate and she gave me a few questions I could answer. The one that stuck with me the most is, “Where are you going and what are you going to miss most about St. Stephen’s?” So here we go.
For those of you who do not know, I am taking on the role as a Campus Ministry Coordinator and Resident Hall Director at an off-campus Lutheran house at Wayne State College in Wayne, NE. I will also be working at a local congregation as their Director of Young Adult Ministry. Both programs I have heard need some foundational work that will be tiring. I will be working long hours to plant seeds that I may not see. But there is a community both within Omaha, Lincoln, and Fremont who will support me while I work with the young adults and the college students to help them invite and explore what the Spirit has in store for them.
Thanks to St. Stephen’s, I can prepare myself for that very thing. Lutheran Community Services is a long-standing organization with years and years of service and experience under its belt. But in regards to the St. Stephen’s food pantry, someone planted the seeds and the pantry is growing rapidly. It is serving around 1,200 families a month. Not people, families. And in that number are all different families. Not even the same families over and over again. The Spirit is alive at the St.Stephen’s pantry. Your servant hearts are truly helping so many in need. But the pantry is growing so quickly that some of the original ways were not working. Thanks to this pantry, I got to stretch my comfort zone on what I could do. This pantry was one of my favorite parts of my placement. I could challenge myself. Yet I was in a familiar place where I knew I was safe and cared for.
The thing I am going to miss the most about St. Stephen’s is the liturgy and the people. It is a group of people who welcome one another into their home. Some of you have been worshiping there longer than I have been alive (sorry to make some feel older, just purely out of dramatic sense). Yet, you welcomed multiple families and young adults who are not going to be here long, or those who are new to the Lutheran tradition. YOU all are St. Stephen’s - the building does not define a church. The people do. But you still swing open the doors and say, “Welcome home. You are welcomed. You are wanted. You are celebrated.” And I thank you St. Stephen’s for welcoming me home.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
- Morgan Simmons