Rev. Dr. Valerie Miller-Coleman's monthly column.
Fifteen years is a long time. You could raise a card-carrying driver of automobiles or pay off a mortgage in that amount of time. Big things can happen over the course of fifteen years. Ben and I will celebrate fifteen years of marriage this summer. It feels long and short all at once. I clearly remember our newlywed days in our tiny little saltbox house on Illinois Street. The novelty of driving to Topeka to shop for bath towels hadn’t yet worn off. We were young, in love, and delighted with our new church home, right here at Plymouth. In some ways, it feels like yesterday.
One of the best things about coming to worship at Plymouth in the summer of 2007 was meeting Kim Manz. Kim had just moved to Lawrence himself. Already we could see the strength of his gifts for leadership and community building in the Music and Fine Arts program here. I remember the kindness and hospitality he extended to me when I joined the choir in rehearsal for the 2010 Spring major work. Kim led us with the grace, good humor, and professional expertise I’ve learned to count on. He cares deeply for the church and constantly seeks its good. It’s hard to overstate how precious that gift is to the staff and membership of this congregation.
Fifteen years is a long time. Big things have happened here since June of 2007. Kim’s leadership among us as Minister of Music and Fine Arts has opened the way for growth on many levels. He’s encouraged children and youth to find their voices and gifts for music. Kim has welcomed rank upon rank of us into music ensembles, art classes, dinner theater, musicals, and culinary courses. We are more fully ourselves as a congregation because he’s led us so well over these fifteen years.
I’m filled with deep gratitude for all that Kim has brought to life among us. I’m also eager to anticipate what more will bloom and flourish as he leads us on into the next decade and even beyond. Thank you, Kim!