Sunday, September 11, 2005

Guyana - September, 2005

I remember as if it were yesterday – September 11, 2001. I woke up, enjoyed a morning run, stretched, showered, dressed, and started walking to class. As I was about to lock my apartment door, a friend approached and asked if I “heard the news” about New York City. I asked, “what news?” And after that moment, my life – along with many others – would never be the same.

Some of us were in apartment buildings that September morning, some in grocery stores and fitness centers, and some in airports and highways – and of course – some were actually in New York City. And because of all that happened – and the memories we now hold – each year during the second week of September we will reflect upon a horrible event that altered the face of the world. We will remember where we were, we will remember how much has changed, and we will (hopefully) remember those who died, and those who risked their lives for the sake of others.

September 11th will always be a day to remember. However, the tragedy in New York
City is only one reason why. For myself and many others in the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in Guyana, September 11th now brings to mind a great sense of joy and
happiness. This year, during the 2005 installment of September 11th, I was officially
“Installed” as the new pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Parish – of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana. Nearly 175 energetic Guyanese, many of whom traveled long distances, attended a worship service that commemorated the occasion. As you might imagine, it was a day – and an event – that I and many others will never forget. September 11th, 2005 was a day filled with joy, happiness, and festivities!

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana (ELCG) is home to 48 congregations, but unfortunately, is currently served by only 10 ordained pastors (7 pastors are Guyanese, whereas 3 come from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – Division for Global Mission). And because Lutheran pastors are so hard to find, the installation of a new one is a rare occasion. (Consider: The United States has Presidential inaugurations just as often as Guyanese Lutherans install new pastors!) And so, because “that which is rare is oftentimes valuable”, my Installation into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guyana was a special event – not just for me – but for all the Lutherans of Guyana.

And so, each year the calendar strikes September 11th, I will continue to think about the tragedies of 2001. However, because of today’s events, alongside the somber memories of 2001 will be the new and joyful memoirs of 2005. Every September 11th, I will remember the Worship Service of Installation held at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, in Skeldon, Guyana. I will remember the joy of seeing 175 people cram into a church equipped for 125. I will remember loud singing, energetic preaching, jokes, laughing, hugs, and kisses. I will remember the thoughts going through my head, the sweat pouring off my skin, the joy filling my heart, and of course – the Guyanese food and drink stuffing into my belly! But most of all, every September 11th I will give thanks to God for the honor and privilege of being an ordained pastor in this wonderful church, and I will remember how blessed I am to be working alongside such beautiful and faithful people.

I thank you for the continued prayers and support. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

With peace and love,