The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Friendship: 'My name is John'

By David (last name withheld on request)

“My name's John, and I'm an alcoholic." My companion and mentor, John offered me experience, strength, hope, encouragement and support along [my] path through recovery back into the ministry of word and sacrament. It was a surprise to us both when I became his pastor.

John died recently from cancer, but before his death he wrote: "Remember? You came out, as it was reported there was a strange car in the parking lot [and] someone was concerned. ... I was like the disciples in the boat at that point in my life. I just couldn't get attached to a congregation and had very little to hold onto. While my intentions were only to come and hear your sermons and enjoy our friendship, I found so much more. ... Going from dreading the fellowship hour at my previous church to immediately needing to make the time at the round table ... my life is and will always be better because of [this congregation's] Christian love and friendship."


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February issue


Embracing diversity