Clergy and lay from across the Conference gathered at the Conference Center on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the ministry of Bishop Julius C. Trimble and First Lady Racedler Grandberry-Trimble. The event, organized by the Episcopacy Committee and the Conference Lay Leader, created an opportunity for people to share a word of personal appreciation to the episcopal family for their eight years in Iowa and as well as offering a blessing as the Bishop and First Lady head to Indiana to lead that annual conference.
People made their way to the chapel mid-way through the afternoon celebration to the strains of “We’re Marching to Zion, Beautiful, Beautiful Zion.” Brenda Hobson, chair of the Episcopacy Committee, shared brief biographical notes about Bishop Trimble, which was followed by words of thanksgiving for the Bishop’s ministry offered by Jerry Oakland, Katie Dawson, Christine Anders, and Lilian Gallo-Seagren.
In the Liturgy of Service, the gathered community said, “Bishop Trimble, you have been a faithful servant of Christ’s holy Church. In your life and ministry we have seen the work of God. God’s work in your life has renewed our faith and inspired us to ministries in the name of Christ.” They went on, “We pray that God will continue to work through Bishop Trimble by strengthening the work already begun and already accomplished among us.” The Bishop responded offering honor to the people of Iowa and praying continued blessing for ministries and faith of Iowans.
First Lady Racelder declared, “I am excited and enthusiastic” about Jesus Christ and the ministries of the people of the Iowa Conference. She also said, “I don’t have words that I can say that would be short!” She cited poet Robert Frost’s line from the “The Road Not Taken,” “knowing how way lead on to way,” she said, “this says so much about our journey.” Referencing Howard Thurman’s poem, “The Threads in My Mind,” she remembered, “Only one end of the threads I hold in my hand. The threads go many ways linking your life with many other lives.” And after reading a poem entitled “Some Days,” which was written by Bishop Trimble, the First Lady concluded, “Friends, this is
the day that the Lord has made!”
Expressing his appreciate for his eight years in Iowa, his first assignment as a bishop of the church, Bishop Trimble said, “I want to thank so many people. And as I look out I want you to know that I see you. I see you!” He especially recognized Rev. Rich Pleva, the area Conference Minister for the United Church of Christ. “It’s been a blessing to be here in Iowa,” Bishop Trimble added. “We’ve been tremendously enriched during our time here.” He expressed the hope that incoming Bishop Laurie Haller would “receive a warm welcome. In fact, I’ve already guaranteed it in advance!” The most important of the “blessings we’ve received has been the relationships that we’ve had.” He invited the gathered community “to continue to pray for us as we go to Indiana. We’ve loved the people wherever we’ve served, but we will miss the people of Iowa.”
The Bishop and First Lady led the community in prayer. “Lord God, we thank you for our many blessings. Let us go forth to be a blessing to somebody else. In Jesus name we give thanks and praise. Amen.”
There was one more opportunity to offer a personal word of encouragement to the Bishop and First Lady following the service, and even with that, many lingered in the atrium of the Conference Center for nearly an hour more to reminisce and reflect on the last eight years, led by the ministry of Bishop Julius C. Trimble and First Lady Racelder Grandberry-Trimble.