Last Sunday was Rose McLean's last Sunday at St. John UMC, Anchorage, following 24 years of service as a diaconal minister. The crowds gathered to hear her preach one more time, roast her unique personality, and thank God for her faithful ministry.
At the party in the afternoon it was standing room only as hundreds came to celebrate Rose's retirement. Pastor Peter Perry did an exceptional job of being the master of ceremonies. In attendance was Pastor Wayne Weld Martin, the pastor who hired Rose in 1987. Recollections were shared from most of the senior pastors whom Rose had "trained" over the years. Jim Fellers, David Fison, former superintendent Billy Still, Jo Ann Schaadt, John Dodson, and myself. I had the honor of being "trained" by Rose the longest which was ten years. We worked together during a period of high growth and led the church through the building expansion. There was always something to laugh about when Rose was around including how church life always seemed to parallel an episode of Seinfeld, bargain shopping stories, standing ovations, and bets on Christmas Eve attendance. (I won most of these!)
Seriously, though, our conference will miss Rose. Over the years she was a tireless advocate for being a connectional church. She provided significant leadership to our conference Professional Ministries Unit, Birchwood Camp, GBGM, regional program council, jurisdictional, and general church ministries. Rose is first and foremost a disciple of Jesus, always a work in progress. And she is wholly dedicated to the Church as a means of God's grace offered to the world.
I know St. John will miss her unique personality and ministry gifts. I know many Alaskan lay and clergy will miss her presence in our faith community. And I will be at the top of that list.
This clip is of the St. John choir singing a benediction song followed by Rose giving the benediction after morning worship. Rose will move to Oklahoma City on September 15. Her address will be
14901 N. Pennsylvania Ave. #284
Oklahoma City, OK 73134