Good morning, for those of you that don’t know me, my name is Jimmy Click, I am preparing to enter my freshman year at Wingate and will major in History Education. I’ve had the pleasure of calling Trinity home for the past 18 years. Between Sunday School when I was younger, to Mission Trips with the Youth Group now, this church holds a lot of memories for me. I still remember standing on the balcony at Montreat as Mr. Suggs pointed out Mars and Jupiter to me as I stood on a chair, I know it’s hard to believe but I was short once.
I am a firm believer in the idea that we are all mosaics of the people and things that surround us. If someone were to look at my mosaic there would be a lot of chaos with a few constants. The sense of family and belonging that I have always felt here at Trinity would be one of those constants. As I stand out here under the oaks, after 18 years of coming to Trinity in some form or fashion I can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness that accompanies the overwhelming excitement for what lays ahead. Through years of preschool, to having the honor and privilege of serving on session this past year, this church has been a second home for me and has truly embraced me and treated me as family. I have so many fond memories that I honestly didn’t know where to start.
I remember standing in the parlor in April of 2016 reading my Faith Statement thinking wow this is a big deal. Well now it’s come full circle. Here I am, a week after watching my sister read hers, giving my homily as I finish my senior year. I remember throughout middle school as I came to youth group, always looking up to the seniors as the year progressed. Wondering someday if that would be me. Well it finally is. There aren’t words to express how much this church has meant to me.
Throughout my life there have been a few constants, with the feeling of always having a family here being one of those constants. From Mr. Tappy always asking how I am to looking forward to whatever colorful bowtie Brent had on that day. This church has always been a source of happiness for me.
As I was going through some old photo albums a few weeks ago, I saw some pictures of me when I was only 3 or four years old at Montreat. I was sitting around the TV by the dining room watching football with everyone. Another was of me on my dad’s shoulders, pants covered in mud, with this big grin on my face like I had just conquered the world, coming down lookout mountain. I’m sure my mom loved washing those. More recently, I remember the youth group going to work at food banks and other community outreach groups in Black Mountain, or hiking up lookout mountain, or running around Assembly Inn. I had the opportunity to attend the Montreat Youth Conference the summer prior to my freshman year and that was an amazing experience. I made lifelong friends and learned so much about myself.
Now if there is one thing at Trinity that I hold the nearest and dearest to my heart it has to be going to youth group. Each Sunday night for the past 6 years I have spent an hour and a half with some of the best friends I’ve ever made. It was always an opportunity to get away from my schoolwork for a bit. The dinners were always fun, getting to sit down and eat dinner with friends was always a bright spot for me. I have also made some great memories. Like my greatest accomplishment, the time I single handedly got the game of red rover banned from all youth activities. I broke my ankle in two places after trying and subsequently failing to break the opposing line. Each Youth Sunday was a source of excitement as I got to unveil whatever it was, I had written this time. Each Mission Trip that I went on created special memories. Whether it was getting to pick potatoes in an inner-city farm in Atlanta, or work with a man in Philadelphia, who despite his diagnosis of HIV was the happiest man I’ve ever seen. Each of those trips has and always will hold a special place in my heart. Even through this past year where we were forced to come together virtually, we were still able to have fun with the Youth Group cooking contest each Sunday. Where I tried and subsequently failed multiple times to win as the creative minds of the younger group won out. The past six years of being in youth group are not years I will forget any time soon. And I hope for the sake of all the new youth coming up that red rover never makes a comeback.
This past year I was given the opportunity to serve on the mission and outreach committee and on session. Both are experiences I won’t forget. From the one in person session meeting I attended, to getting to vote to sustain the examination of last year’s confirmands there were so many eye opening and life changing experiences that I got to have through session. Serving on the Mission and Outreach Committee was an equally amazing experience. I am a firm believer that a church is only as strong as the community that it forms around it, and serving on that committee opened my eyes to just how strong the community around Trinity is.
My work on session allowed me the opportunity to explore eagle project ideas at the church. I was lucky enough to be able to build a toolshed for the Friendship Garden, yet another way that Trinity helps the community around it. I am so happy to have had all these opportunities and I am eternally grateful to this church for the sense of family and belonging that you have all given me.
I want to address the confirmands now. I want to first highlight the fact that this is the first all girl confirmand class that I can remember seeing. That in and of itself is amazing. I remember when I was confirmed, the entire process was eye opening and exciting. It isn’t until after the fact that you realize the true importance of being confirmed. If I could have all of you stand up for a second. Take a look around you. This is your church now. You are just as important to the future of this church as I am, as Steve is. You are the future of this church. Thank you.
To all the youth, there’s a Michael Phelps quote that I love and it goes “you can’t put a limit on anything, the more you dream, the farther you get.” Take that to heart. Remember it as you continue on through your journey in life. There’s another quote I like, it’s one that my mom would tell me every day before I left for school. She’d look at me and say Jimmy, go out and be the change you want to see in the world. So I challenge each and every one of you to go out and be the change you want to see in the world. Hold the door for a stranger, lend a helping hand, a kind word, or even just a smile. Go out and be a part of someone else’s mosaic. So Trinity, this isn’t a goodbye, this is a see ya later. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. For everything.