“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) I have been blessed to have the privilege of being a member of this congregation for the last 18 years. During my time here I have had the fortune of listening and learning to hundreds of sermons from dozens of priests and speakers, and although I cannot promise that my senior address will memorable or life changing, I feel that it is my duty as a graduating senior to give this address for the sole purpose of saying two powerful words. “Thank you” Thank you for being here to celebrate the good times and for helping me through the not so good times. Thank you for installing in me core values that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for giving me a space to learn, worship, and love God. Thank you Mr. Boedecker for being my confirmation sponsor almost 4 years ago and for being a roll-model in my life. Thank you Mr.Brush for being someone to talk to while we were driving up to the Atlanta Missions Trip and for being my table parent in Logos. Thank you Father Bumsted, Father Wood, and Mr. Christoph Moe for putting together a great Jr and Sr EYC program that further broke down the Bible’s lessons and for giving me the tools to overcome obstacles through my time in both middle and high school. Although I do not have enough time to name every single person that has helped me get to where I am now, thank you all for everything you have done for me and for my friends. I would like to end this address in with a bible verse from Psalm 145, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Joshua 1:9 says “Be strong and courageous, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
It’s not a secret that Redeemer and its many qualities have the ability to bring people in and welcome them into the family of Christ, especially the youth. But what I really want to talk about is the significance of not only the physical church, but also the community of Redeemer and how it shaped me, not by bringing me to faith, but by keeping me faithful. No matter what had happened in my life during the week, whatever stupid thing I did, or whatever challenge was thrown at me, God remained in the back of my mind, helping me through the many conflicts a high schooler can face. Every Sunday, I’m able to come to Church and forget everything else, I’m able to confess to God and have a clean slate for the week ahead. For me, it’s a form of meditation. A time where I can be mindful of my shortcomings and realize the blessings of Christ, like a mini-revelation every Sunday. Whether I’m sitting in the pews, or acolyting, standing next to Father Robinson hoping I don’t mess up, or having incense blown in my face and kneeling for way too long, the mentality is always the same. The mentality stays the same because the service, the people, and the relationships never change. Many don’t realize the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that the service is perfect so that everyone can have a positive experience in the church, and I thank all those who have helped make Redeemer a weekly place of worship and fellowship as I have grown and improved my faith every week. Leaving home and everyone here for college next year won’t be easy, but I won’t be afraid or discouraged because I have been trained up in the way Christ wanted me, and he will be with me wherever I go.
Hi, I’m Grace Menke. I’ll be graduating from Pine View High School and will be attending Yale in the fall. Redeemer has always been a constant in my life. It’s a place where I feel myself becoming closer to God with each passing minute. Through the music, the verses, the people, and the activities. But what I love most about this very special place are the memories that I have made with the people I love the most. While writing this I couldn’t tell you how many times I typed up a whole story and then deleted it. Not because they weren’t great stories, but because I realized that the simple memories were the ones I really loved most. (Plus, I have a time limit.) My favorite memories are of the family shenanigans occurred during the service. Of course, none of you all knew what was happening because we sit in the baptistry where the walls are thick. And it’s a good thing because my family usually picked the moments of silence to remember whatever happened a moment ago and then continued to try to keep ourselves from laughing and breaking the peacefulness of church. Like the time Millie tried to use a hand held mirror to reflect the light into people’s eyes while they stood at the mic. (Even if it was Fr.Fred.) The week after that, Edward and I tried to do the same thing, but we got caught in the act.
To wrap it up I would like to thank some of the many people from this church who have impacted my life. Thank you to all of the Friday morning bible study ladies who make me look forward to waking up early every Friday. Thank you, Mrs. Boedecker, for being my confirmation sponsor and bringing me closer to God. Thank you to all of my Sunday school teachers, especially Mr. Hartenstine, for sparking my love for the Ivy leagues, even though I will be attending your rival school. Thank you, Mrs. Moe, for creating my love for music. Thank you to all of the priests, especially, Fr. Fred, Chris Wood, and David Bumsted for making the youth feel that we are such an important part of the church and its future. And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my family: My mom and dad for being my rock and always supporting my dreams, and my brother and sister for always loving me and teaching me how to be a better sister and friend. Thank you.
Hello everybody. For all of you who don’t know me, my name is Bella Strom. I have a brother and a sister; you may know them as Lissi and Ben. Even though they drive me crazy, I am going to miss them so much next year. My family and I have been at Redeemer for 11 years and I can’t believe how fast it has gone by. I am graduating from Pine View School in a couple weeks and starting school at Florida State this summer with a major in nursing. I never thought that I would be a ‘Nole since my mom went to the University of Florida and my dad went to the University of Miami but I guess there is a new rivalry in the Strom household. Redeemer has meant so much to me over the years. This church has not only made me stronger in my faith it has also brought me my best friend, Grace Menke. I met Grace the first year I moved to Sarasota. It was the summer before second grade and my mom signed me and my siblings up for VBS. I still remember walking into one of the classrooms upstairs and meeting Grace while we completed crossword puzzles. Grace and I have been friends ever since and have shared a lot of laughs, I am going to miss her a lot next year. I will always be thankful to Redeemer for giving me this connection. Redeemer has also led me to amazing places like my first mission trip in 7th grade to New Orleans, Atlanta Georgia in 8th grade and the Dominican Republic in 10th ,11th and 12th grade. The Dominican Republic has really helped me grow in my faith as I saw the joy of Christ in the children. They were so thankful for what they have and never stop bringing you hugs. I also have been going to Saint Michael’s Conference for the past four summers and that has allowed me to make so many connections with people I would otherwise never have been able to meet. So many people at Redeemer have helped me grow in my faith starting with Father David and his support in middle school. Mrs. Devitt and Mrs. Boedecker, my Friday morning breakfast hosts. Father Marsden taught me everything there is to know in 7th grade confirmation. The Mortons who have given me my first job opportunity. Chloe Hill who has been on all of my mission trips; I will always remember the numerous memories and nicknames. Christoph who has made the effort to be at countless plays, music performances and youth events to support my family and I. Father Chris has always been there for support. Especially all the times he opened up his house to us for EYC and shared many valuable lessons. Father Wilson is always there to make me laugh, and Father Fred who has been the rock of this church ever since I first arrived. Thank you, Mom and Dad for always being there for me and loving me unconditionally. You have showed me what faith means and to mom I will never forget to stop holding up the rock. Thank you.