A Big Family Moment
I’ll start with a confession. I know I cannot possibly be dispassionate about what I’m going to write. How could I? This is about my little girl, my daughter, Rachel. So, if I enthuse a little too much, please forgive me.
But you also might enthuse a bit because she’s your daughter, too! The “First Daughter of the Church,” born while I was your pastor, baptized in the chapel where we were worshipping at the time. You raised her, you loved her, you taught her. Sunday School, youth group, mission trips…she was a part of the many wonderful things we offer to every child God brings through our doors.
Candidly, one of the things that concerned me most about being a pastor was what it would do to my kids to be raised in the church in the inevitable spotlight that falls on a pastor’s family. The fact that both of my kids love the Lord and love the church speaks volumes about how well you pulled off that delicate balancing act; the right amount of love plus the right amount of grace and freedom.
All of this I prayed for from Rachel’s earliest moments of life. What I didn’t pray for or expect was the idea of her pursuing pastoral ministry as her life calling. But Sunday night at 6:00 pm, we will celebrate that unexpected grace as we host the Presbytery’s ordination service for Rachel to be a “Teaching Elder” in our denomination, a Minister of the Word and Sacrament as the Dean of Spiritual Formation at Montreat College in North Carolina.
Obviously, this will be a big deal for the Toone family. But I think…and hope…it will be a big deal, too, for the entire Chapel Hill family. Because you played as large a role in preparing our daughter—your daughter—for this moment as we did. Please join us for this big family gala!
By the way, there are many who are flying in to surprise Rachel on this big day, including her youth pastor, Jeremy Vaccaro. In fact, he will be preaching for us this weekend, the return of a beloved pastoral leader to our pulpit. But keep it quiet! It’s a surprise for Rachel.
This is so exciting for us. Thank you for all that you’ve done to bring this moment about.