Reflections on 19 Years
~ Jim Von Riesen approaches retirement

Where has the time gone?! It is almost nineteen years since I first walked through the Centreís front doors to begin my time as a member of the program staff. I was somewhat anxious, but mostly I remember the excitement of beginning a new ministry. Never did I dream, at that time, that I would be writing retirement reflections from this same place.

How fortunate I am to be able to say that I enjoy coming to work just as much now, during my last year on staff as I did during my first year. Why has this ministry been so life giving to me over the years? A look at a few of the images in my virtual memory book will help to answer that question.

The first image is an aerial view of the Centre property on the shore of Echo Lake nestled between the hills. My experience tells me that this is, indeed, a sacred place that welcomes and nourishes those who spend time here.

The next image is one you will recognize. Itís the staff seated on a picnic table having its picture taken for the Program Calendar. What you do not see; what only I can see in my virtual image is that all the staff with whom I have journeyed are gathered for the photo. These exceptional people have been a source of encouragement and support for me in so many ways. They breathe life into the day to day working of the centre and help make it the sacred place it is. As I look at this image, I realize once again that they have been, and are, so much more than colleagues.

The third image is of a small group of people who are gathered with me around a flip chart as we plan one of the 380 or so programs for which I have been responsible over the years. I have been so blessed to work with these remarkable volunteers. The time, conversations and laughter we shared made the planning seem more like play than work. I am so grateful for their generosity of time, skill and knowledge.

And the last image I want to show you is one of a circle of people gathered to participate in one of the programs offered by the Centre. Whatever the program or its length, what I remember and value most is the deep privilege it was to walk with these people for a brief time on their journey of personal and spiritual growth.

There are many sustaining memories I will take with me when I retire, but, above all else, it is the people who will be in the picture whenever I close my eyes and think back over the many unforgettable years I have experienced here at the Centre.

~ Jim Von Riesen

Other articles from this Echo:
Letter from Linda Anderson, Calling Lakes Director

Chatauqua 2007 ~ First United Church, Swift Current

Thank You !    ~ Special Gifts    ~ Comfy New Chairs

New Program Coordinator/Program Staff ~ Marg. Janick-Grayston




Copyright © 2006 Calling Lakes Centre
Box 159, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan Canada S0G 1S0
Phone: 306-332-5691 Fax:306-332-5264
Email: office@callinglakes.ca