You [the people of Covenant] are always in our thoughts and prayers as you go into the future.
In April, Bruce and Ellen Hazelwood sent a reflection in honor of Covenant’s Anniversary and their time with us. Read Pastor Bruce’s complete reflection below.
Reflections of Rev. Bruce Hazelwood
Senior Pastor – 1979-1988
Congratulations on the 100th anniversary of Covenant United Methodist Church from both Ellen and myself. That is worthy of a celebration and thanks for the kind invitation to participate. It has been over 30 years since I was there and many of the people I knew and worked with are gone either through death or moving away. But here are some reflections on the time there.
I was always impressed with adult education that took place in those days. There was a regular Biblical study and then there were electives which lasted about 6 weeks that one could choose, and adults really did. Experts in a particular field would lead discussion on a current topic. I never had another church that had such great education. Then there were the services of worship with lots of people, great music, and wonderful leadership. The staff was terrific: the Hassingers [Merrill and Sue], Stephen Heilakka, Pat Woolever, Charles Yrigoyen, Ben Gould and other volunteers who made things move like clockwork. Ellen and I remember with great fondness the year we did the Williamsburg Christmas and how wonderful it was and true to history. It was an amazing event!
There were some sad moments as well. The shooting at the Springfield Mall was an awful event, killing several children and a well-known ob-gyn doctor in town who belonged to Covenant. We all learned to weep with those who weep and hold on to each other in the midst of horror.
I learned a great deal about myself at Covenant. It is good for ministers to be honest about how little they know and how poorly they hide the fact behind religious jargon. It is good to remember that we are keepers of an ancient secret, a radical gospel that is both a product of its time and timeless and that we are all priests.
Ellen and I and the girls loved living on Williamson Lane and being a part of “Dream Valley.” The girls both graduated from Springfield High and went on to college and their careers. We are now living in Florida in the Palm Beach area having moved here shortly after we retired to be near our grandsons. We attend a large church in Palm Beach (1800 members) and I don’t do anything except sit in the pew for we have a staff of 21 and 3 full time clergy. It is wonderful to be unknown.
Ellen and I have had a great time reflecting on our time there at Covenant and the gifted people we worked with. Remember as you go into the future that faith is something we do, against the odds, in loving defiance of a world gone mad. You are always in our thoughts and prayers as you go into the future. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!