A Word from Our Pastor 2015 November

Transitions. . .

Here we are, summer is trying fitfully to turn into fall. . . there are still plenty of warm, even hot, days, but nights are cool. We are in the midst of the shift of seasons, our bodies sensing the nearness of the darkness of winter, the time for quiet, preparing for the new year, for change. . .

It is a shift of seasons for BMU, as well. We are facing a major change: our Choir Director, Stephen Varney, will be leaving us to begin a position at Trinity Presbyterian Church in San Carlos. Stephen has made this decision out of the deep conviction that God is calling him to a new ministry, to explore how his gifts may be used in a different context. Stephen and Naomi Sanchez are exploring the future of their relationship together, so we will also have a change in our relationship with Naomi.

Both Stephen and Naomi will be leaving BMU staff at the end of this year, 2015. We are blessed to have Advent and Christmas with them.

Stephen has been at BMU for 15 years; when he arrived he was still in the midst of undergraduate studies at the SF Conservatory of Music; BMU was the first choir with which he had a long-term relationship: BMU is his choir. The BMU Choir was in a bit of a slump when Stephen arrived; I don’t remember how many people were singing on a regular basis, but it wasn’t very many – perhaps 10 or 15. Over the years our choir has grown to over 30 people, who sing with joy and love. September’s Choir Blast was a wonderful testament to their faith and depth of worship, feelings and skills that have been nurtured by Stephen.

The decision to leave has been very difficult for Stephen – he says that this is where he “grew up.” I have told him that most of us have had to do this before – BMUers have sent kids to faraway cities for college, for employment, to start families; we have watched close work friends move on to other jobs or have done that ourselves. We know how hard it is to say goodbye, but we also know that the ties of love and family (for we are “family” with Stephen) never break. We know that we can weep for the loss of how things have been, and celebrate for the future at the same time.

Naomi Sanchez has not been with us as long, but she has also made a significant contribution to our life together, especially with our young people. She has directed the Christmas play (enabling us to have a musical production), and when there was interest, conducted the young people’s choir; more recently, she started a “Glee” club with church and neighborhood kids. Her presence at Sunday morning worship and her assistance in programming in general has given everything we do musically added dimension and liveliness.

In the several months that we will have together, you will take the time to communicate to Stephen and Naomi what their ministry with us has meant to you personally, and how you see the fruits of their labors at our church.

Before the end of October, we will begin the search process for a new Choir Director. No one will ever replace Stephen, and he deeply committed to making sure that the new Choir Director will be able to assist our Choir, and our worship, in bringing us closer to God and to one another.

I ask you to continue to pray with gratitude for all that has been, all that we are blessed with now, and all that will be in the future – for Stephen and Naomi, for our Choir and for BMU.

–Rev. Naomi