Preparing for Worship – LeAnn Hampton.
As we prepare to worship today, we are filled with mixed emotions, “don’t you know?!” We joyfully celebrate the gift the Mason family has been to Wilshire but have lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes as we face the reality that the relationship we have enjoyed for 33 years is changing. What a gift it is that God understands the complexities of our feelings and is walking with us on this journey.
Included in the service today is time spent together around the Lord’s Table remembering and giving thanks for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. From the early days of his ministry, George has followed God’s leading to remind us “for everyone born” there’s a place at the table. George has patiently helped us to better understand the depth of God’s hospitality extended to EVERY BODY.
Today, I’m fondly remembering a time around a different table with George, Kim, Cameron, Rhett and Jillian. The year was 1989, and the place was Mobile, Alabama. Wilshire’s Pastor Search Committee had been having conversations with George about the possibility of coming as our senior pastor. Small groups of committee members took turns traveling to Mobile on different Sundays, trying not to be noticed by the congregation as we attended worship at Hillcrest Baptist Church, where George was pastor.
When the time came for my group to go, George and Kim graciously extended an invitation to share a meal in their home. It was my first encounter with the amazing Mason hospitality, and I remember the laughter and ease of the conversation around the table with this delightful couple and their young children.
After the meal, we shared our dreams and desires for Wilshire’s future and pondered together the role George might have in that work. The committee had many more discussions and meetings with George, and within a few months, he assumed his role as our senior pastor. Paraphrasing from Ephesians 3:20, God’s work through George for the past 33 years has been abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined.
Now we echo the words of Philippians 3, and as we worship, we will give thanks every time we think of George Mason. We will be praying for God’s guidance in this time of transition and will look forward to the bright future God has planned for the Mason family and Wilshire Baptist Church.