Presentation to Rev. Dr. Elaine Beth Peresluha

by Tom Doe, Board President as presented on June 20, 2018

I would like to thank Elaine for letting me insert into our packed service today a moment of recognition for her ministry and to present a few small tokens of appreciation.

First, I want to say how much I am going to miss the unconditional enthusiasm and anticipation that has greeted our visits to the administration building over the past two years. And that’s just talking about Gussie!

It will probably take us a few years to fully appreciate the impact of Elaine’s ministry on our church.

If you’ll excuse a building metaphor, today we do not have a bright new structure in front of us, but rather a bare concrete foundation with steel rods of rebar sticking out – much like the light rail construction that we see around town. Over the last two years we have been building that foundation, and Elaine has been our architect and project manager.

To prepare a foundation, first we had to dig down to the bedrock, which is usually deeper than we anticipate, encountering unexpected and not always pleasant surprises along the way. Elaine has shown us the bedrock of our values and led us to express those values in our mission and vision statements.

To support the spiritual, caring, beloved community, we needed to build that strong foundation with, among other things, governance, right relations, and strong staff (who are now getting healthcare benefits). With Elaine’s guidance these are much, much stronger today than they were two years ago.

Throughout this building process Elaine has inspired us with outstanding worship. As one example, no one who attended church the Sunday after the 2016 elections will forget her words of consolation and encouragement.

In a few years we will have that gleaming, figurative structure of our rebuilt church. And when that happens let us not forget to look at the foundation and see in the cement her handprints and the initials, EP.

If that is not the definition of a successful interim ministry, I do not know what is.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees I have a few small tokens of appreciation that I would like to present to Elaine.

First, I would like to recognize the team leader for ministerial support who has been there unconditionally, 24/7. This bone is for Gussie. In retrospect I wish we had directed every member with a bone to pick to Gussie, because she knows what to do with these things.

For you, Elaine, we have this small work of Salish art that we hope will remind you of your time in the Northwest. Just as we here in the Northwest will carry the memory of your ministry in our hearts.

The second is a circle scarf printed from Salish designs. It represents wrapping you with our love and respect. We hope you will carry this with you to your next congregation, who will be fortunate to have you as their minister.

You can listen to Rev. Elaine’s last sermon here.