Altho' I moved to Clarksville, I retain my church membership in Eastwood Christian (Disciples) for reasons evident in my earlier postings regarding the mid-size East Nashville congregation. I plan to attend at least one Sunday a month.
Yesterday (25 September) I had an additional reason for being at Eastwood. Early in the week it was published that Assistant Pastor Michael Lehman had accepted a call to go be senior pastor at a Disciples of Christ congregation in Pennsylvania. We all knew this day was coming, that Michael would leave us for bigger and better things -- he has a great future ahead of him. Nevertheless it's hard to let such a fine young leader go. Michael himself expressed that personally it was a "bittersweet" situation.
I'm sure it had nothing to do with Michael putting in his notice, but Eastwood's worship service yesterday had even more and even heartier music than usual. And this is saying a LOT, considering the musical talent among the members and our typically very song-filled worship!
On two selections Michael played drums. The choir's Anthem early in the service was the powerful and rousing "Mighty to Save", a paean to our God Almighty.
Later, during the collection of the offering, an ensemble the worship bulletin labelled "Eastwood Friends" -- who included Michael at drums, Stuart Duncan as one of TWIN fiddles (!), Jonell Mosser as lead singer and choir director Julie Duemler, Liz Johnson and the other fiddler as background vocalists -- presented a strong spiritual, "Oh, Mary Don't You Weep". Jonell was vintage Jonell, getting 100% into the song, expressing herself with gestures and facial cast as well as singing. The whole song and its singers and musicians had me ready to get up and dance in the pew! And all the congregation stood as one in acclamation at the final note.
At some moment during the service Michael approached the lecturn mike and began with the comment that "Eastwood has so many musicians that even the feedback is in tune!" LOL
Also at some moment during the worship I considered that at its conclusion I'd ask around to see where folk might be going for Sunday dinner. But a lot was on my mind after the benediction and I forgot. A few minutes later as I drove down Gallatin Avenue considering possibly dining at Shoney's or Sub-Way, I espied Calypso, across the avenue from East High. Knowing that the café offered delicious and healthy selections at reasonable prices, I turned into the Calypso parking lot.
Knowing how popular Calypso is with many of the Eastwood congregation I was somewhat surprised that none were already there before me. I took a solo seat, but within minutes, to my great delight first one, then two, then another from the church entered. The "another" was no less than Michael Lehman. We all chatted about the excellent music we'd experienced, and in a couple cases provided, during worship at Eastwood.
Only in Music City USA. Or to put it another way, "so Nashville!"