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July 18, 2023

Dear friends,

One of the most emotionally devastating movies ever created is Pixar’s “Inside Out.” The emotions I felt after watching the trailers for that film, which hyped up all of my favorite comedic voices working inside a young girl’s brain, did NOT match. In the film, a teenage girl moves across the country with her parents at a volatile time in her life. She misses home, and while her brain and parents keep telling her to “stay positive,” she has so much trouble because she needs to feel sadness and understand that it is okay.

On Sunday, it was announced to the church that long-time staff member Victoria Stoddard (or Deichert, Lawson, “Fig”) will be stepping away from her roles at Embry Hills UMC. In the lore of Embry Hills, she will always be remembered for her willing spirit to step in and help whenever and wherever she could. She will be remembered for the sacrifices she made to continue to help the church through good times and rocky times. She will be remembered for her voice. I will always count on her as a friend and mentor and will continue to do so.

But at this moment, it is okay to be sad. Because while she is going on to new and exciting things after working at the same place for 24 years, she will be missed. I am positive that she will find new adventures, and meet new people to impact through her experiences, and am excited to hear those stories, but at this moment, I want to express how much we will miss her. Yes, we will be on a search for a new staff member, and they will have new ideas and different energy, but I will miss Victoria. She will never be far from our hearts.

Over the next few weeks, let’s celebrate her ministry. There will be events and different ways to say goodbye, as we all will be embarking on a new adventure.



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