The Apostle Paul wrote a beautiful line at the beginning of his letter to the church at Philippi: “I thank my God every time I remember you.” (Philippians 1:3) This verse comes to mind whenever I witness a “page turning” event in someone’s life—births, funerals, weddings, graduations, or relocations to name a few. These moments prompt me to reflect on a person’s impact on others. Did they leave others better or worse than they found them? They also inspire me to consider more deeply the effects of my own words and actions. I aspire for others to be able to say about me, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” I aim to leave people better than I found them. That seems like a worthy aspiration to me.

The good news is that we have significant influence over this. In almost every moment of every day, we have the God-given opportunity to bless others. While we won’t always succeed, if it is our sincere desire to live in God’s grace and love authentically, we will get it right more often than not. We cannot control whether everyone likes us, and good intentions do not always lead to desired outcomes. Others may not always receive our efforts as we hope. Yet, we are far from powerless in our interactions with family, friends, and even those we have yet to meet. As children of God, we possess a God-ordained ability to bless, encourage, and love. The key is to remember this power, even when we are distracted by stress, disappointment, or anxiety.

We are approaching such a “page-turning” moment with one of our beloved staff members, Mary Fields. After 10 years of wonderful, compassionate service at PTCUMC, and many more years of service in other communities, Mary is retiring to enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of work. Mary has given so much to so many people. Now, it’s time for her to focus her attention and kindness on those closest and dearest to her. She has indeed left us better than she found us, and it is right that we should be profoundly grateful.

Mary’s retirement date is June 30. She will be with us in worship on that day as we express our gratitude. If you would like to share a personal note with her, baskets will be available in the lobbies through that Sunday morning.

Godspeed, Mary Fields. We thank our God every time we remember you.