Submitted by Rev. Dr. Don Longbottom
You would think after 43 years in the ministry that nothing would come as a surprise. Sunday morning it was my privilege to bring the message at the 24th Anniversary of the founding of Cosmopolitan UCC in the Dallas area, Carrollton to be specific. This congregation is well led by Pastor Bernard Bassig. You may be wondering about the surprise?
Back in 1977, I was called to pastor my first and only “Baptist” congregation in Alameda, CA. Close to half of the congregation were folks whose country of origin was the Philippines. I remember as though it was yesterday. What lovely, decent, and caring people I had been called to pastor. The Cosmopolitan congregation, as it turns out, is predominately Filipino and I was instantly transported back 40 years.
When I would visit one of the leading families, the Cuentos’, they would stop all activity, cook a wonderful meal from scratch, feed me and then pack up the leftovers for me to take home. They truly possessed the gift of hospitality and their welcome was always extravagant. Deserving or not they loved their pastor. When I walked into Cosmopolitan on Sunday morning it was 1977 again and I was surrounded by sisters and brothers cut from the very same precious fabric. The music was excellent and following my sermon Pastor Bernard stepped into the pulpit and issued what sounded a whole lot like an invitation. Congregational members came forward to be touched and prayed over. It was a powerful moment that took me back to the roots of my calling. The moment shimmered with the presence of the transcendent One.
I will be ever thankful that an invitation was offered, and I was able to be present in this past Sunday service at Cosmopolitan. Oh, and lest I forget, following the service was delectable Filipino food including a whole roasted pig.
Serving as Conference Minister is not always easy but sometimes it is sublime. Last Sunday was one of those times.
Grace and Peace,