Yesterday, I had the absolute privilege of joining in with other local clergy and community leaders in leading a 'blessing ceremony' for the Gig Harbor/KP Fire/Law Enforcement/EMT/EMS workers. A good 200+people gathered together in the parking lot and front lawn of the GH United Methodist Church, where a number of games, face painting booths, food tents, and emergency vehicles were assembled. Music was provided by the GH Civic Orchestra (that's not the one I play in). The blessing ceremony lasted about 30 minutes, under a beautiful, clear blue sky. On the platform were various chaplains, fire captains, representatives of the different services, a couple of us clergy, and president of the local LDS stake. A local color guard presented the flags, a local fireman sang the Star Spangled Banner (complete with a 'random' wind gust unfurling the flag at the exact moment he hit 'and the home of the brave. . .'), a piper played 'Amazing Grace' as all paused to remember those fallen in the line of duty. Then the chaplains, clergy, and LDS representative led a responsive reading/blessing, and a few thank-yous were offered up to the community.
One moment in particular was poignant for me. Near the end I found myself sitting on stage, following the blessing, listening to a short speech by one of the fire chiefs - Mike Miller, the same man who led the search committee that brought me to Lakebay in the first place.
It was good to see others we knew from the community as well - kids who come to our Pioneer Clubs, fellow preschool parents, a few of our church members, and fire captains like Tom Lique and Chuck West, who both serve out here on the Peninsula.
The only disappointment I felt was the lack of participation from the church community. Two pastors from the GH United Methodist took part, and my colleague Arlyce from down in Longbranch was there (she and I to represent the KP side of things), and that was it, unless you count the LDS stake president. I was told by one of the event coordinators that over 80 local clergy were invited. If you remove the two from the church hosting the event, Arlyce and I were the only two to respond.
I know. . .Sundays are tough. And some will balk at the 'ecumenical' nature of the event, but it seemed in the end this was a great opportunity to show appreciation to many who serve in such dangerous and crucial places, and to let them know we support them. If anything, to keep the door open between the church community and the first responder community. So I was glad to take part, and hope more will at future events.
In the end, it was a perfect day, it was fun for the family, and a chance for me to represent Christ in the larger community. It was a blessing for me to have the chance to take part, and I hope it truly was a blessing to those who serve.