TRANSITIONS ARE NOT EASY
I have heard leadership speakers say that people do not really mind change. It’s the transition they have a hard time accepting. I believe there is truth in that, and I am in that position as the era of Charlotte Hanson serving as my faithful ministry assistant comes to a close after 13 and a half years. Preparing for the change has also given me cause to reminisce. Charlotte has been there during the good and the bad over these years. She was there during the early days of the Tennessee Ladies Chorus, which had already begun when she came on board but was an organization still in formative days. It was great help for me to have a woman with ministry sensitivity and was part of that group who was in close proximity. Her support with that ministry has been invaluable as all TLC singers well know. Likewise she has been a welcoming face when preparing for events of the Tennessee Mens Chorale, and an enthusiastic support for that group. Charlotte stood with Worship & Music ministry as we faced the disappointing decision to cease children’s and youth music camps. That would not be the last sense of ministry loss we would face. She has joined the lament when music ministry leaders have left our state, have been dismissed from their position, and she has joined me in mourning at the passing away of brothers and sisters with whom we have shared ministry.
Of course there have been many joyful experiences to share over the same thirteen year period as well, and anyone who knows Charlotte knows she likes to celebrate. Her optimism has been an important boost to the atmosphere in and out of the office. She has been involved in each of our mission endeavors for Tennessee Ladies Chorus and Tennessee Mens Chorale. She has celebrated the production of new recordings. She helped research copyright and license details for three of our four recordings, and has worked with every set of officers for the Tennessee Baptist Church Music Conference to coordinate meetings, CD sales, online dues & fees, holding accounts for travel, and event registrations as needed. Charlotte has shared in the singing, clapping, and yelling of “Oh!” for each of the Joy! An Irish Christmas presentations at the Schermerhorn Symphony Hall. She has been integral to every MMLC, TLC and/or TMC concert, Youth Project and Kids Choral Connection and has kept me ready with resources for roundtables, retreats, worship renewal weekends, and a host of other events that have come down the pike through this time frame. What’s more, she has brought the same smiling and enthusiastic spirit to it all. Her spirit has helped make days that were especially challenging a bit more bearable and sometimes even fun despite it all. All of this she has done while dealing with a disease of the nervous system, though in remission – Praise the Lord!
Most importantly, Charlotte has approached her work with us as ministry and as worship. Her spirit and interest in worship has allowed us both to function in a manner of thankful living. Each of us has experienced serious challenges with our health, and have depended on one another for prayerful support and practical help covering the bases when needed. We have shared in our families’ growing, compared notes as parents and grandparents, and generally learned to celebrate life together through our work and through our relationship as co-workers. As we walk through days of transition here I will miss her, but will always value the immense contribution she has made to our ministry and to me.
It occurs to me that all those who serve alongside ministry support partners must take pause from time to time to assess the value of serving together. While it would seem senseless to walk around tossing accolades every few minutes for work done, assistance given, and support offered, it makes all the sense in the world to live out a spirit of gratitude toward those who serve with us, and to share the ministry with them to the full extent appropriate. I pray that Charlotte has received that spirit and blessing from me, and knows just how truly grateful I am for the time we have shared ministry. I know the Lord has great plans for what’s next for Charlotte and for us as we prepare to orient someone new to all of this.
Now for the transition………..