Dear Church Family,
Thank you, Calvary Fellowship and all our brothers and sisters in Christ, for living life with us for 25 years. This chapter has been incredible and we are so grateful for you!
As we move to Spokane, we are also thankful that our bonds with you are eternal. What a blessing that is. We have so many wonderful memories—and the best is yet to come!
I went to Calvary during summer vacations from college and Jay and I attended together while we were in YWAM in Seattle. In those days we especially remember a friendly usher named Ray Aguilar who always greeted us with a warm smile and led us down an aisle in the auditorium at Lincoln High School where CF met.
When we decided to marry, we were thrilled that Wayne Taylor agreed to perform the ceremony. We were also surprised, because Wayne is such a rockstar and we were nobody special! But we were bold to ask because most of the people—including our families—who attended our wedding were nonbelievers and we knew if they were going to listen to the gospel and be willing to hear it we needed someone like Wayne to give the message.
Wayne did give a gospel message at our wedding, as we asked him to. And God used that, along with a series of other ways He was calling to our Maid of Honor (my sister) and Best Man (Jay’s brother) to bring them to Christ. Glory to God and praise Jesus for an obedient servant who speaks the Truth in every situation.
After a couple years living on the Peninsula, we moved back to Seattle. We attended another church for a few years because I was on the worship team. Then one Sunday when our first born son (Taylor—named after Hudson Taylor, but also having Wayne Taylor in mind) was four months old we went to Calvary because the drive was shorter. At the end of the service we looked at each other and said, “Why would we ever go anyplace else?” We’ve attended ever since—for 25 years.
Robert Case was the worship leader at that time, and that, combined with 40 minutes of solid biblical teaching from Wayne each week (not to mention Friday night classes and women’s study etc.) fed us well and satisfied our souls.
We have so many memories! Here are just a few:
- Hanging out with my babies in the back of Lincoln’s foyer with Mary Lou Bryan and laughing together.
- Kathleen Williams friendly and welcoming smile and encouraging words whenever we met at child care. Her tenderness toward Zack and the blessing of her care for him so we were free to attend extra services like Worship Nights.
- Women’s Study where I developed lifelong friendships with amazing women who have become my nearest and dearest.
- Cathy Taylor teaching with so much joy in her face that it made me want to know Jesus more.
- Kim Case leading worship a cappella in women’s study—so rich!
- Melissa Aydelott teaching through a passage in Isaiah rapid-fire and covering every square inch of it—then hearing Kim Case advise her afterward that she didn’t need to give every detail :). But that’s the Calvary way, isn’t it?
- Standing next to Charlene Rice in worship and bawling my eyes out during “Oh Happy Day” because I was brokenhearted about our son Zachary’s diagnosis of Fragile X Syndrome, and feeling her warm hand reach out to rest on my back while she cried with me.
- Kneeling at the front of church and sobbing once again about Zachary, and feeling a warm hand on my back as Jim Huntsacher prayed for me.
- Hosting Children’s Ministry parties at our home and having the crew come and set up EVERYTHING for 50+ people to eat and fellowship and have a blast in our backyard.
- Following Bob and Linda Haye’s lead with curriculum they had created to teach 5th Grade Sunday School with kids in our class like Brianne Rhodes, Noelle Kola, Collin and Kyle Rhodes, Fiona Cochran, and so many others we loved and prayed for! And seeing them grow into men and women of God (what a gift).
- Jay continuing to teach some combination of 4th-6th grade Sunday School for at least 15 years (we’ve lost count) as we saw kids grow up and join him as helpers on the teaching team.
- Jay leading a Junior High Bible study for boys at our house that was probably more about the zip line we had and the snacks than anything else, but he did get the WORD in there for about 10 minutes each week.
- Chase Holmes coming to that study with his brother Austin, even though he was not technically old enough. We just loved that little boy with stick-straight red hair who kept up with the big guys! (And now he’s taller than all of them.)
- Taking Wayne’s class on teaching and being so encouraged and empowered by him.
- Asking Cathy Taylor if I could lead a mom’s group for women with children with special needs and having her ask me to teach women’s study as well. What an honor!
- Teaching the beautiful, loving, kind women of Calvary for 15 years of Bible study and always thinking when I was nervous (which I was every single time) that I could fall on my face and they would all come running up to the “stage” to lift me to my feet, so why did I need to be nervous at all?
- Praying with so many faithful women—Alison Haven (whom I consider my younger sister), Becky Baker, Maria Bayya (who encouraged me to fast), Wendy Hagel (whom we consider part of our family and I still love even though our pets prefer her to me whenever she comes over), Liz Malone, Nancy Aguilar, Trish Cary, Katia Sinclair, Donna Seibert, Olga (another sister) and more than I can remember.
- Dinner with the Single Mom’s Group at my house and great fellowship with Suzanne E, Kathy H, Meliny G, Susanne J, Emily, Karen, Rebecca, Donna, Wendy, Leah, and more.
- Jay and I praying with faithful partners Brud and Sandy Renick, Dick Jones, and Pete and LeeAnn Kasdan for years during First Service in the tiny prayer room.
- Writing with Luann and Nancy and Cathy and Vicki and Jen and Becky and Jasmine.
- Serving a small congregation at Vineyard Park with Jan Davis and Jennifer Williams.
- Wayne and Cathy’s wise advice whenever we sought it.
- A transfer from Robert Case to Brett Williams and oh, how we melted into God’s presence with Brett’s leading even after we thought no one could replace Robert.
- Pam Magiba’s dreamy voice leading us in worship in the past few years.
- The heartbreak of Brett and Kathleen leaving, and everyone else who has left—all to start new churches or take over pastoring established ones.
- The brilliance of Justin Thomas and how he was the perfect Junior High leader for our son, Taylor.
- The consistency of Stanley Everhart who asked us if we wanted him to watch our son, Zack, during church and help him in Sunday School when he was about 10 years old and has been our main caregiver for Zack for the last 13 years—always getting to our house at least 10 minutes early, always flexible and available, and the main reason we’ve been able to be so involved at Calvary. Truly one of the most faithful servants of Jesus we know.
- The kindness of Craig Finley to Taylor during high school years. I remember in particular Taylor saying one day after church, “I’m not always sure what Craig’s talking about, but I always get the feeling that it’s right to be there.”
- Vicki Finley’s easy laugh and friendship, not to mention dog training!
- John and Nada Jean giving us a safe place to bring Zack along for a Thrive Group focused on praying for Missions—their quiet strength and authority in Jesus, and her delicious curry and spoiling of Z. Many times of prayer with the Cochrans, Oglesbys, Aguilars, Angrenys, Bushys, Bryans, Johnsons, Wendy, Fabrina, Chris, Audrey, and some I’m not remembering but who God will never forget — along with visiting missionaries.
- Ten years of leading a home group with Anita Ford, Kim Ebe, Pam and Kurt, Darlene and Curt Adams, and others. Pam’s brain tumor and walking through her dying.
- The growth of our church since Riley became lead pastor and the joy of seeing him, as well as Jesse Williams, take the roles their fathers had and do such an excellent job.
- The new Care Ministry and Missions Care Team we have under Riley’s leadership—how thankful we are for these and being able to serve on the mission’s team with John’s leadership.
There are so many other things I could list! So much living in this wonderful chapter of life. And as we move on to the next chapter of our lives in Spokane, closer to our kids and ready to help with our grand babies, we just want to express our admiration and gratitude for all of you! Words fail to say how much God has used all of you to encourage us and mold us in our walk with Him. We love you very much and are only a phone call, a Zoom meeting, a message, or a 4.5 hour car ride away.
Looking forward to eternity when there will be no more goodbyes!
Love you all,
Elizabeth (and Jay and Zack) Griffin