This is the post that will be printed in the June issue of “The Signal” :


                In this season of graduations, confirmations, and commissionings, I have been thinking about how all these celebrated “endings” are in fact beginnings. We use the term “commencement” when we talk about graduation ceremonies, and although commencement marks the end of a process, the word really means “the beginning of something.”  Spring is a season of growth, new life and beginnings, and I find myself wondering about the new beginnings and journeys on which we are all embarking. Our new graduates will be starting college or new jobs – beginning a new life where they will be more independent from their parents and teachers. Our new confirmands are beginning a journey into understanding and growing in their faith. And our new Stephen Ministers are growing into a new role as listeners and supporters in our congregation. All of us are beginning new journeys as well, as we strive to support these people in their journeys – as they change and grow into who they will be, we also grow and change as we support and encourage them. We are changed by their journeys and have also undergone a commencement.

                In reality, we begin something new with each new day that we greet. The challenges we face, the sorrow and joy that these challenges bring, and the growth that results change us as we move through them. We become new people with every day that passes, and have the opportunity each day to commence on a new journey. For some of us, this journey might be understanding sorrow and enduring life’s turbulence. For others of us, it may be celebrating the joy of accomplishment and achievement. For yet others, it’s a mixture of both. Regardless of the journey we’re on, though, we have a chance to make things new every day, and every moment. I’ve written recently on coping with tough times, and in relation to that, I wrote about realizing and accepting that we can’t always change the world around us or bend it to our will. We can, however, change our outlook regarding the challenges we face, and in doing so, commence on a journey of faith and hope. We can commence on a journey where we become closer to God, by striving to understand His will and His process in our lives, and by bending our will to his – “not my will, but thy will be done.”  May our commencements be joyous, and our journeys full of growth and understanding, in His name. – Laura Burlingame-Lee

Stephen Ministry is a calling and a ministry where we try to exemplify the love God has for us by walking with and listening to one another. We are caregivers, and through all of us, God is the curegiver. If you are interested in Stephen Ministries, please see their website at: .