just returned from a quick trip to detroit for the memorial service for sandy richert (i posted here about her, and here’s the website with more). six of us from ys went. the service was wonderful — a great tribute to sandy, as well as to jesus.
what made the whole thing so surreal for me, though, was the extent to which it was a coming together of so many pieces of my own journey. after i moved away from detroit to go to college, i met rolly and sandy at a church in wheaton, illinois. and there were people at the service from that church (former students of mine, plus my old boss, who now lives in orlando). rolly and sandy ended up moving to detroit, and attended the church i grew up in. the service was in that church, where my parents still attend. so there were lots of people from that church at the service, whom i hadn’t seen in years (old youth group friends, friends of my parents, various pastors, including the pastor who married jeannie and i). rolly and sandy got me involved in dcla years ago, and there were lots of people at the service (from all over the country) who have been involved in leadership for that event over the years — old friends i only occasionally see. and then, rolly and sandy worked with lots of other ministries (producing their events) who are friends of ys. so i was sitting in my home church with old youth group friends, various speakers from ys conventions, jason from the david crowder band, pastors i’ve known along the way, people from national network of youth ministries and greg stier and miles macpherson and todd temple (from mediashout) and rich van pelt (from compassion) and former middle schoolers of mine from wheaton and so many others (too many to name). to top it off, the six of us from ys stayed at my parents’ home (though my parents are in florida at the moment). oh, and lesa, rolly and sandy’s daughter, who was in my first middle school group, then, later, an intern for me in pasadena.
all of this confluence was beautiful. it was pretty easy to reflect on my own life and the wonderful experiences and friendships i’ve been blessed with. to top if off, it was a perfectly clear, warm and sunny day — which is pretty rare for january in detroit!