December 15th was a unique Elim day for me. I spent the morning at a brunch with most of Elim’s staff at the Olson home due to the invitation of the organizer, Pastor Rebecca Hanson. That evening, Suzanne and were with the Merrymakers at the home of Ed and Joyce DeHaan. That much food is not good for me and sitting and “chatting” are not my favorite “activities”. But I absolutely enjoyed myself, learned a few things and was reminded of a few things…
I looked around the table at the staff gathering. I was reminded that much of our staff is new and is diversified in age. The Olsons are relatively new and a generation younger than I am. The Dishingers and Somodys are not new (or a generation younger) but they are fairly new to their current roles. Matt S., Carlos M., and Andy J., are very new and, compared to me, very young. Mark G. and Steve M. are relatively new to their roles and in their 50’s.
Those of us who have been around for a while – Becky, Leonard, Alberta and Linda B. – are close in age while Ms. Melanie is, clearly, younger. It was great to have Michelle E. from the preschool there as well. Old or young, new or long standing, these folks have agreed with the Elim Leadership Team and last year’s Search Team that Elim needs to try some new things. The platform looks different; where we do Hope Ave and ElimKids is very different; new classes have been added; aspects of the music have changed a bit; how we use, and allow others to use, our building is evolving; and how we do both outreach and connections have new features.
At the DeHaans, most of the people were folks I have known for 20 to 35 years. It was nice to know that Suzanne’s and my presence actually lowered the average age, even if only slightly. These folks represent decades of loyalty, support, hard work and community for Elim. However, when reasons and ideas are laid out, these folks tend to see the need to try new things, seek younger folks and accept that new times mean some new activities. These folks do properly require that long-time Elim values be adhered to, such as: Biblical roots and solid preaching, basic respect for where we have been and tradition, a good blend of serious spirituality with a sense of humor and human compassion, and a connection to the community.
I enjoy coming to Elim to see: folks who have been here since the ‘50’s and those who came since 2017, evidence of tradition and creativity, and a concern for the current needs of people while staying focused on our spiritual purpose. So, let’s keep working to contribute to Elim’s ministries and keep connecting with other Elim folks.
~ Roger Dahl, Leadership Team Chair