This is not your typical Faith column today but it is written from the heart and with a heavy heart.
This morning, Rev. Garrett Andrew of First Presbyterian Church, downtown Albany, will preach his final Sunday morning sermon.
While I am not a member of his church, I have come to know Garrett in the last year and a half as a true man of God. I have heard him preach and the first time I did, I was moved in that church. That experience was in 2012 at a joint revival at Bethel AME Church, a church I had never attended before.
It was at that service that I realized that God really did love me! But it took me over a year to return to my own church, Covenant Presbyterian Church as a regular attendee.
I was doing some volunteer work at my church but rarely attended Sunday services. Partly because I was lazy about getting up on Sunday morning and making my preparations to attend.
I asked Garrett to provide occasional Faith columns to The Albany Journal and he graciously agreed. Between preparing his sermons, ministering to his church members, performing marriages and funerals, being a good husband and a great father to two, he was really too busy to help us out. But he did it anyway. Not every week but every couple of weeks when I would remember to badger him on Facebook to get me a column.
He almost never refused, even sending me a column from California, while on vacation, and once from Chicago where he was attending some sort of additional Presbyterian education.
Garrett once took me to lunch and we had a fabulous conversation. We became well acquainted with one another and I genuinely liked him.
My family and I have been through some really hard times in the last year but my own church has been extremely good to all of us. That too has moved me to tears more than once and I am truly grateful to Covenant for that.
My son had joined my church when I but recently, my 12 year old grandson, Robert Knighton, attended confirmation classes and a couple of weeks ago, he became a member also. My daughter-in Law, Jennifer Knighton, began attending church with us several weeks ago and she will be joining us as a member of Covenant soon.
Did my relationship with Rev. Andrew push us toward this renewed relationship with our church and with God? Not really, but it did help. I know God speaks to Rev. Andrew just from talking to him and reading his wonderful columns.
And God speaks to me and mine as well. I really had not heard God speak to me in a very long time but in recent months, He certainly has.
I know everyone who knows Rev. Garrett Andrew will truly miss him as he makes his way back to California which is his home. And I personally will miss him.
Perhaps I can continue to badger him every now and again to write us a column from the “left coast”?
But I give a heartfelt thanks to Garrett and really do wish him well in his new adventure. Thank you for bringing me and God together once again!
Life with God in our lives is truly an adventure!