Dear Penny, It’s hard to absorb the reality that after over twenty shared years of ministry, you’re retiring as Conejo’s children’s minister. For all of us who know your love for God and kids, your organizational prowess, your creative use of limited space, and your years of faithful day-in-day-out service, we wish it didn’t have to come to an end. But such is life and today I want to celebrate and appreciate some of your many gifts and years of service.
You beautifully blend a deep love for children and their faith development with a no-nonsense strength that does credit to your Texas roots. You’ve had to deal with some wily and opinionated kiddos over the years and you’ve navigated those waters with a grace that is both firm and kind. Just as beautiful is the way you’ve loved children with various learning disabilities, allergies, and social challenges, always creating a welcoming space for them in your ministry. Jesus taught us to “Let the children come to me” and you’ve always endeavored to do so with great sensitivity and care.
I’ve used the word “field marshal” to describe your leadership and organization skills. Whether superintending major tentpole events like Vacation Bible School, or coordinating staffing for weekly classes and children’s worship time, or organizing seasonal events like family Advent or Good Friday experiences, you ably marshal volunteers, delegate key tasks to lieutenants, maintain esprit de corps among the “troops,” all while pointing us to the way of Jesus. Over the years, you’ve inspired ministry volunteers to become true partners, helping them find a meaningful place of service within your ministry areas.
As we all know, the space for children’s ministry is, er, limited. Yet you have squeezed every ounce of value from each nook and cranny of our building and its outside areas. You resourcefully create vibrant learning spaces for our kids, adapting them each year to accommodate the various sized classes of kids. During COVID, you pivoted and learned how to prepare videos, host outdoor events, and creatively keep in touch with kids and their families. You also manage your ministry finances very well, living within your budgetary means while making the most of your ministry dollars.
Finally, you are a great ministry teammate. You solve problems. You have our backs. You speak the truth. You don’t whine. You don’t create drama. You set a high bar. You get the job done. You make us laugh with your spot-on and sarcastic sense of humor. You are wise and insightful and I have often benefited from your candid assessment of situations I wasn’t seeing correctly. My one consolation in your retirement is that you and Jim are not moving away—for this, I’m deeply grateful.
So thank you Penny, for your years of faithful and excellent service. Well done, good and faithful servant. May God bless you and keep you always.