We have a lot of “keepers” around Forest Hill – a title that not only celebrates some very special people and their gifts but affirms the priesthood of all believers.  You see, we believe that ministry belongs to each and every one of us.  Part of our privilege of being in community is to help discern and celebrate each others gifts.

John Murphy is our resident “keeper of birthdays” – given his gift of never forgetting them – and our “keeper of the chairs.”  Every potluck Sunday he puts chairs around our tables and on other Sundays makes sure there’s chairs out for our seniors.  He never grumbles that his job is too menial but he’s always ready to welcome others to join in the fun. 

Joe is our “keeper of the light.” He not only turns on the lights in our sanctuary but the light of his smile chases away any darkness in our hearts.  Joe has limited mobility because of cerebral palsy and always wears a bicycle helmet to protect him from falls but that slows him down.  He may be unable to speak words, but Joe speaks volumes – with movement and sound and gesture, with his eyes and especially with the light of  his presence.

Howard has become our “keeper of communion.” He helps me set the Table before worship, carrying the elements oh so carefully, and then praying that our worship will be a gift to God and to our gathered community. I love Howard’s prayers and he loves praying.

Rick is the “keeper of the flame.” Each and every week, even when he can’t stay for worship because he’s going to the ballet, Rick takes the bus to Forest Hill to center himself, to pray and then to light our candles. His commitment is amazing and the candles always have a special glow when Rick lights them.


The faithfulness of our “keepers” is humbling and inspiring. Even though they may be challenged in special ways, they show up, they serve and they touch the lives of our community.  And frankly, they challenge us to grow in faith – to show up, serve, and touch as joyfully and as lovingly as they do.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” ~1 Peter 2:9-10.

Thanks be to God for John and Joe, Howard and Rick; for our keepers who truly teach us what it means to be God’s own people and to proclaim with our lives the Light of Christ.

Blessings, Susan

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Susan,
    Thank you for your blog posts. They are part of my Lenten practice this year. They help me reconnect with our wonderful community at Forest Hill. I am thinking a lot right now about lay leaders and lay leadership – the ministry of all believers. I so deeply believe that “Part of our privilege of being in community is to help discern and celebrate each others gifts.” This is something that I loved about being at Forest Hill and that I love about serving at First Christian Church, Greensboro. You may be hearing from me more as I begin to formulate a ministry thesis on the topic of the ministry of all believers – cultivating and nurturing strong lay leadership. Again, thank you.
    With much love and peace this Lenten season,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: