Andrew A. Hagen, Director of Youth Ministries
Last night was my last night with the junior high youth. Tuesday night was my last night with the senior high youth. And I’ve been thinking about "Little Drummer Boy"... random, I know. But as I think about it, what gifts have I been able to bring to EPUMC over these last five years? There have been times that I’ve felt like I’m bringing “pa rum pum pum”.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two months thinking about five mission trips, retreats, Wednesday nights, and special events. I’ve been looking at pictures – pictures from mission trips, Chipotle on a summer night, Box Night Out when we can't feel our toes, and pizza Wednesday nights. (If I did this right, what you should see below is a slideshow of pictures from the past few years.)
I've been hearing echoes of “you did this and it helped us to trust you, Andrew” and “you don't know how much what you did this week really impacted me.”
There's little doubt in my mind that we, at EPUMC, are progressive, accepting, and affirming of all. If there’s a legacy I leave, I hope that it’s I’ve done my part in fostering an atmosphere of openness and curiosity where any question can be asked and multiple perspectives will be accepted.
There have been nights when I went home exhausted, and I don’t remember what we talked about or what game we played. But there are nights I remember like they were this morning when Ashley, or Michael, or Billy asked one question, and we talked for over an hour and explored what others might think. It was never about “you’re wrong and I’m right” but pondering where others are coming from.
I hope that I’ve instilled a value of exploring one’s spirituality, in part, through the lens of what others might understand to be truth. I’ve been immensely blessed to have been a part of that journey and this congregation’s exploration of what it means for us to live into the meaning of “Big enough to make a difference, small enough to care.”
To live into a model of servant leadership and living and loving the least and last as Jesus loved the least and last.
To share a gift and bring a smile to the face of the Infant Jesus even if all I hear is “pa rum pum pum”.
Andrew A. Hagen
Director of Youth Ministries