Our church has had eight Senior Ministers in its first 100 years. I was lucky enough to know four of them and be one of them.

Dr. Bash was small in stature but had a booming voice. Long before it was popular, he invited people of different faith traditions to gather in worship and dialogue and mission. Under his leadership the chapel was dedicated and became a welcoming space for interfaith activities. With courage and boldness, he led us through the turbulent 1960s.

Dr. Brice hired me in 1988. I remember sitting in his office on my first day and hearing him say “I want you to have fun.” So many days I have remembered his words. He reminds me to lighten up, to serve God joyfully and to fall in love with God’s people. Dr Brice was a masterful pulpiteer. Every word was carefully chosen and certain sermons are forever imprinted upon me. I learned from him a deep love of words and the power of words to inspire us.

Dr. Cueni arrived with a wealth of wisdom on leadership. He was an administrative wizard. One of his passions was that the church should not just be a wedding mill but a place to begin thriving marriages and so we wrote and piloted Great Start for couples. He said that the two most important things we do in life for which we receive no training is to get married and raise children. And so we helped families with both.

Dr. Miles was not only a mentor to me but like a brother. His theological honesty in the pulpit was a balm to my soul. Under his leadership we began going to South Africa, Nicaragua and India to serve God’s people on the margins. He challenged us to live out “all means all” and so we opened the doors more widely to include LGBTQ Christians in all aspects of God’s holy church.

Sometimes in church I picture George Hamilton Combs in his morning coat with tails, preaching without a microphone in the 1920s. I picture Dr. Grafton comforting the widows and mothers during WW II. I hear Dr. Wyle advocating for men’s ministry, youth ministry and missions. On our Homecoming Sunday, Oct. 3 at 10:30 a.m., many of our former clergy and staff will join us to celebrate our first 100 years and launch the next 100. We will hear a string quartet, an amazing piano organ duet, vocal selections from ensembles, jazz trio and the glorious hymns. And I will hear the sacred history of all who have offered their lives in service.