I’m sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath; the wait is over! Here are the 2010 Old Year’s Awards!
My self-imposed rules are simple (and essentially the same as last year):
* No one in the immediate family gets awards – their significance goes without saying!
* No one gets an award who would expect to get one – that defeats the purpose.
* Awards are presented in random order; I’m giving 7 for no other reason than that it seems like a good biblical number. (and, after ONE whole year’s worth of precedence, it’s now “the way it’s always been done”)
Award #1: The Men’s Knitting Community — There are a handful of people who fit into this category – particular mention goes to Bradley and Eric. Remarkably, my experience of the men’s knitting community is almost entirely online and yet it has been the most supportive, encouraging, life-improving and love-giving group of people I know.
Award #2: Staff – This year I moved from a no-staff church to a church with several employees. I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about paid staff at a church; sometimes churches hire staff so that the people of the congregation can get away without doing anything, and in some churches, the staff is power-hungry, controlling, and threat the rest of the people in the congregation as pawns. The staff at my new church is wonderful! They give generously of their time and energy and have an institutional knowledge of the congregation (and the willingness to share it) that has been invaluable.
Award #3: Juel Grevenstuk — Most people don’t know the work that goes into making General Synod, commission meetings, etc. go so smoothly. Juel does. Why? Because she handles a lot of it herself. This summer Juel was fundamental in facilitating thousands of specifics for a General Synod at Northwestern College – which doesn’t hold a lot of large conferences… that means that she had to do a lot more than normal – and she did it graciously. Also, I’ve had the joy of touching bases with Juel at the fall commission meetings for a number of years, but since I’m no longer on a commission, I missed that time of connections and realized how important it had become to me. Juel deserves a lot of the credit for freeing General Synod, commissions, councils, and various other groups to do the work and fun of Christ’s church without worrying about the specifics of human need.
Award #4: Matt Reimink — I mentioned Matt last year in relation to Ragbrai (although his role in my life certainly transcends the yearly pilgramge we made to the “holy land” of corn and pie). Since we now live in New York, Ragbrai didn’t happen this year for me (and isn’t likely in the near future — it’s FAR, FAR away!) However, I did have the joy of participating in Matt’s wedding last spring and did get to meet up with him on a quick trip back to Michigan for a meeting in August. He’s been the source of solid support, huge encouragement and great fun. He is one of those people I look forward to keeping in touch with despite distance.
Award #5: My Bike — OK, it’s an odd award. It’s an especially odd award considering the fact that we spent very little time together this year. Sometimes absence does make the heart grow fonder. I’ve never been considered an “athlete,” but learned that biking does wonders for my mental status, patience level, and quality of life. Go figure?! Perhaps exercise is good for me!
Award #6: Surrogate Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents — Moving meant leaving behind a lot of “family.” There were many people in our last congregation that made it possible for JJ and I to both embrace God’s calling in our lives. Special note goes to “Aunt Deb” and the Nevenzels, but there were certainly others too. JJ and I miss you; our daughters miss you; without you, we’ve learned just how much sanity you provided us! To our friends in New York: We’re looking forward to you increasingly becoming our “family” too – it’s been a slower transition than we thought it would be, but we couldn’t be doing it without all of the aunts, uncles and grandparents who show us (especially our girls) such love!
Award #7: Kathryn Kurtz — This is perhaps the most unusual award of the year. I’ve never met her; I will likely never meet her; I’ve never had personal interaction with her via phone or internet, and I likely never will. However, as I’ve reflected over my life and loves (of people… of liturgy… of diversity… etc.), I’ve increasingly noticed that her writing has been strangely influential. This, despite the fact that she writes fiction and historical fantasy. It is an odd, but true, fact of my life – and she deserves to be recognized for it.
Well, there you go — the 2010 Old Year’s Awards. Thank you all for the life and love you’ve made possible! Please continue! May this next year be joyful and love-filled for one and all.
Grace and Peace,