Retired, but not finished
This past Sunday we had a big event and celebrated the ministry of Deanna McAteer, our director of children’s ministries here at Prince of Peace for the past 22 years. Deanna is a remarkable Christian woman, who has given so much to so many. I’d like to tell you a little more about her in my article this week.
I say “a little more” about her because I actually wrote about her a couple years ago, telling you about her gifts and expertise for teaching Vacation Bible School. She is the V.B.S. teacher extraordinaire, from classroom decorations to teaching techniques that engage the kids and send them home with a smile on their faces and Jesus in their hearts. The good news is that even though she is retiring from the director’s position, she will continue with many of her interactions with children at Prince of Peace including teaching V.B.S.
“Mrs. McAteer” or “Mrs. Mac,” as the children like to call her, has led many different activities with children and families over the years, but her “signature” ministries have been the “Cherubs” and the “Kids’ Music Company” who present their annual Christian musical programs, of which she was the director. These have been “works to behold!” Most often they would give Broadway and professional musicals a “run for their money.” As the children over the past 22 years remember Mrs. Mac, they usually say they remember “the programs!”
In fact, this past Sunday two young adults in their early 30s were part of the celebration event, and they both spoke of remembering being in the first children’s musical our children ever presented, which was “Angels Aware” in 1989. One of those who was a child in the first program is now the mother of two children, both of whom are presently in the “Cherubs” and the “K.M.C.” That’s quite a wonderful legacy, for sure.
Deanna has said many times through her retirement process, “I want the congregation and the community to know that even though I have retired, the children’s ministries and particularly the ‘Cherubs’ and ‘K.M.C.’ will continue at Prince of Peace under very capable new leadership. I want these programs to grow and get even bigger and better.”
What follows here is something I think you’ll find interesting and enlightening. It is the letter my own father, a retired Lutheran pastor who will be a “young 91” in December, wrote to Deanna when he heard of her plans to retire. I certainly can’t say it any better than this:
“Through a reliable source at Prince of Peace I hear that they will be missing the important services of one of their most capable leaders as you endeavor to retire. My, what a dedicated servant of the Lord you have been at Prince of Peace as you have gladly and capably served as director of the children’s ministry. You were the Lord’s special ambassador as you directed the ‘Amazing Cherubs’ and the ‘Kids’ Music Company.’
“The Lord used you as His shepherdess to bring the Gospel to countless children and live the Gospel among them for their spiritual benefit. You used the medium of music and the words of the Gospel to direct the children to Jesus, to His love, forgiveness, peace, and the assurance of heaven. Also equally as important, you and the children shared the precious Gospel with thousands down through the years. Only the Lord knows how many lives you and your ‘angels’ touched and enriched spiritually. To use your words I once read in The Dove, ‘You are a treasure beyond measure.’ You also had enriching thoughts in your ‘Deanna’s Corner’ in The Dove for the parents and the whole congregation.
“Thank you for your God-pleasing ministry. Thank you for giving so much of your time, energy, love, life, and faith for the glory of God and for the spiritual benefit of the children and your congregation. Few people have served the Lord as faithfully and lovingly as you have.
“Sincerely in Him,
“P.S. I know my son Justin and the entire congregation appreciate your unselfish, capable and dedicated services in His Kingdom.”
Thanks, Dad! You say it so well.
Thanks, Deanna, you have been and will continue to be a true blessing.
And, oh yes, Thank You, Lord, for providing Deanna McAteer to the world in general and to us here at Prince of Peace and Fayetteville in particular. We pray You would continue to bless her and her husband Wayne with health and the will and capacity to keep serving You and us. Amen.
Kollmeyer is senior pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Hwy. 314 in Fayetteville between Lowe’s and The Pavilion. The “Cherubs” and the “Kids’ Music Company” meet every Wednesday from 6:30 – 7:30. They will be presenting a Christian musical play this spring. Preparations will begin after the first of the year. Children in the community through the 5th grade are invited to join these groups and participate fully. Church membership is not required. Youth ministry activities are Wednesday nights also. Go online at www.princeofpeacefayette.com