When sometimes it seems there is precious little good news, I get a cheerful e-mail as I did today from a former pastor and good friend, Rev. Steve VanKuiken. Steve wrote:
Dear Far Away Friends,
On Friday I'm throwing a party to celebrate and announce that I'm engaged to get married to Jennifer Hackman. I've got a keg of beer, some wine, some food, and we're going to have a happy hour/open house from 6:00-8:00. It's going to be fun to surprise our friends and my congregation with this. Jenn and I will have set our wedding date for June 9.
Many of you know that for a few years my life has resembled that blues song that goes something like, "If it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all." Well, things have changed. On the personal front I have been incredibly happy, and my song has changed to "the luckiest man on the planet."
For background, Steve--over the past 7 years--has weathered being dragged into eccliastical court in the Presbyterian Church USA when his church ordained GLBT elders and he performed a same-sex marriage, lost his call at the Presbyterian Church in Cincinnatti (which had lured him away from Burnsville, MN), started a new church (www.TheGathering-church.com), won his appeal from the PCUSA, left the PCUSA denomination by his own decision when they would not approve his ministry to The Gathering Church, went through the process to become ordained as a UCC pastor, suffered depression, and ultimately was asked for a divorce from his wife and mother of their two children. It is so good to hear that he is happy again. I also know that he's working on getting his congregants to approve The Gathering to become UCC affilliated--and vice versa.
Cheers to you and Jennifer, Steve!