A Year in the Life

2021 Year in Review

"Just as a whole world of beauty can be discovered in one flower, so the great grace of God can be tasted in one moment.” - Henri Nouwen

A SUMMARY

This was my 48th year of ministry, my 16th year in Alexandria and, as it turns out, my final months at First Baptist Church. There were no big trips this time, as health issues and the lingering pandemic kept us all close to home. We sold our house in late summer, rented it back for a time and, thanks to the generosity of a church family, are closing out the year by living in Old Town—and loving it!

I preached several sermons on prayer early in the year. Then a series called Reality, one called Jeopardy, and on selected Psalms in the summer. In the Fall I spent several weeks talking about our church's vision and mission and have spent these last many weeks re-visiting some key themes in my preaching I especially want you to remember.

This was the year I really faced my mortality for the first time. Heart issues, COVID, and then a stroke, definitely got my attention and I suppose I'm feeling my age (68) more than ever now. Still, I have miles left to go before I sleep.

The church is slowly building back after the pandemic, and we are enjoying the new facilities God has given us. I think we are healthy and, from where I'm standing, the future looks bright.

SOME SUPERLATIVES

PROBING: My cardiologist insists on a heart catheterization at INOVA Fairfax , 1/13

BEST NEWS ALL YEAR: John Mark and Daniela tell us that a baby girl is coming, 7/26

FAVORITE BOOK: Between Tides (Dzanc Press, 2021) by lifelong friend, Angel Khoury

UNINVITED GUEST: 
Audrey and I both get COVID, 1/22

PIN CUSHION: We get the vaccine: 3/14, 4/5, and a booster, 10/27

GENERATIONAL COHORT: Today's kids may one day be referred to as "Baby Zoomers.”

SCOOP-FEST: FBCA serves free ice cream to 300 of our neighbors on the hottest day of the summer, 8/28

BINGE WATCHING TV: Criminal Minds

FAVORITE GAME TO PLAY: Rummi-kub

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT: Nocello, on W. 55th St, NYC, with Jason King and his beautiful family, 6/17

STROKE: Totally without warning, but Audrey does some quick thinking, 7/24, 8:30PM

FIRST MOVIE BACK IN A THEATRE: Respect, all about Aretha Franklin, 8/14

ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING: 
Autumn and Irene come over and watch me while Audrey goes to church, 8/1

"YOU JUST WIGGLED YOUR FINGER. THAT'S WONDERFUL:” Physical therapy on my hand with Katie, 8/4-9/3

DROPPING THE MIC: Announcing my retirement from the church, 9/9

FRESH AIR: "Pastors in the Park," 6/27, 7/18

OUR BEST SUNDAY: 
Dedicating the newly renovated sanctuary in the AM and having largest Fall Festival (2,000 attending) in the PM!, 10/24

FAVORITE FRENCH RESTAURANT: Le Refuge on Washington St.

SOLD!: Audrey sells our house while I'm in the ICU, 7/26

IT'S NOT JUST ME: Other long-term staff announce retirement. Rozella Hayes, Phyllis Gardner, and Archie Doering. Mikel Dasch moves to another church in the Summer.

HONORED: 
Audrey receives Lifetime Achievement award from Samson Properties, 10/23

REMINDER:
  The Jonathan Ellis family remind us of what it means to be the church, at Thanksgiving dinner, 11/23

HOT COFFEE: Walking to Perks on North Fairfax St. most early mornings in November/December

FAVORITE PLAY: 
The Addams Family at Hayfield HS, starring Carter Elliff, 11/5

BEST NEIGHBORS ON WOODLAND LAKE DRIVE: Tom and Michelle

MOST FUN: Staff party for my retirement at Del Ray Cafe, 10/28

OLD TIMES THERE ARE NOT FORGOTTEN: Van load of friends comes up for the weekend from Henderson, NC, 11/13-14

A PARTING GIFT FROM ME TO YOU: The prayer in Psalm 20:4

EXACTLY HOW I FEEL: Charles Spurgeon said, "If I had a thousand lifetimes, I would want to be a pastor in every one of them.”

I've done these year-end columns ever since I came here—and many years before that—to help me think again about the year that is coming to a close. But I've also written them to encourage you to think back on the good and not so good days of your own life. To keep them fresh in your mind, to bring a smile to your face when you re-read them in the future. Keep good notes all this next year and you can do it when December 2022 rolls around.

And if you do, I'd like to read what you come up with. "For the good times.

*For a review of the entire 16 years, Click Here.*

2 Comments


vera reid - December 14th, 2021 at 8:33am

Don, you are truly an epitome of what a pastor should be, and Audrey is exactly the type of wife a pastor should have. Thankful for the years you were our pastor.

Gwen - December 14th, 2021 at 1:35pm

AMEN!

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